Daphne Wesdorp from Bakkeveen is a war reporter in Ukraine. She writes about her experiences in the war zone every Monday and Friday. Laughing with the military, a drone and a grenade when they’re not at the front.

    Dzier, a soldier of the Georgian battalion, pulls the pin from the grenade. “Catch!” he yells to his friend, while he makes a laughing feint.

    On the days when the soldiers are not fighting the Russians on the front line, there is a lot of practice. Machine guns rattle on the hilly meadows full of colorful blooming flowers and young wild cannabis. “Training is necessary. But we also keep it cozy”, says Iraki, the commander.

    And cozy it is. In the late afternoon sun, hanging metal plates, about a hundred meters away, are shot with precision. There’s all kinds of artillery. Sniper rifles and machine guns, as well as RPGs and grenades. “Isn’t it a waste of all the ammunition?” I ask Iraqi. ,,We have more than enough”, he winks.

    Dzier is now standing on the edge of the hill. “Everyone back! Get low to the ground, don’t stand still,” Iraqi shouts. With a swing, Dzier tosses the grenade into the abyss. He quickly drops to the floor on his stomach and puts his fingers in his ears. The explosion is so big that the two cars behind us are covered with a layer of dust and grass.

    Nearly half of the members of the Georgian battalion have also fought in other wars. “I was in Kabul when the Taliban came to power, at the airport,” said Iraki. “Later I found out that two others from our group were also here in Kabul at the same time, at the same time in the same base. I never encountered them.” Despite roaring laughter as the artillery fires, the boys know the drama of the war all too well.

    Dzier sits down behind a machine gun. Dima, who is piloting the drone on the front line, stops the hovering drone over the bearded Georgian lying on the ground behind the gun. Slowly he lowers the drone until it comes to a stop on Dzier’s buttocks. Dzier looks startled over his shoulder and jumps up with a scream.” Tears run down Dima’s cheeks from laughter. Sometimes humor is the only thing that keeps you going in a war.

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