MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A London native fighting in a Ukrainian mechanized unit, Ariah Ben Yehudah, 58, is visiting Morgantown and talked to WAJR News about the importance of support from the west and battlefield conditions. When Russian military hardware rolled across the border in Feb. of 2022, Ben Yehudah was volunteering in Israel.

Before the Russian invasion, Ben Yehudah said Ukraine had an advantage in artillery capabilities. That improved slightly when support from the west began to arrive, but after the invasion of Israel, he said the support had dried up. Expediting military support despite United States political wrangling is vital for them to continue the fight.

“Not only from America but also from Germany and France,” Ben Yehudah said. “That is taking a huge toll on us because the munitions that are being withheld are the 155mm shells for our howitzers.”

Ben Yehudah is a Sargent Major in the unit that has been involved in the most recent offensive. Right now, during frozen conditions, movement is relatively easy, but as the weather changes, mobility becomes more difficult, and the prospect of being stranded near opposing forces is real.

“As soon as we get a warm day or a warm couple of days, that turns into a quagmire and nothing moves,” Ben Yehudah said. “So, if you’re stuck, you’re going to be staying there until it freezes over again.”

He described the fight as one from trench to trench and augmented by the use of artillery. He said the soldiers in Ukrainian units are typically on duty for a week and are then given a few days off before returning to the front.

“Driving with Humvees equipped with 50-caliber Brownings and storming trenches, and the trenches we take over, we move our Ukrainian infantry into those trenches,” Ben Yehudah said.

Without the support from the west, he said the battle would be much different. As an example, when the United States approved the HIMARS system for use, they were given a distinct advantage. The system is a light multiple rocket launch system with a range of up to 300 miles.

“HIMARS was a game changer because the Russians do not have anything with the range or precision of HIMARS,” Ben Yehudah said. “They have nothing to counter the HIMARS.”

Through the course of the recent offensive, Ben Yehudah said they’ve learned Russian forces to be divided into three categories: conscripts, regular active duty forces, and special forces. The conscripts are those taken by a draft or other means and are as well-trained as the two echelons behind them.

“If the conscripts, the ones feeling the brunt of our attacks, don’t move forward and try to go back, their own men have been ordered to shoot them,” Ben Yehudah said.

Ben Yehudah said that in the coming weeks he will return to Ukraine to fight until the end of the war.