Off the front line, the 25th now trains and prepares to hold the separatist attack in the contingen-cy of the first line’s fall to the enemy. They oversee the terrain, establish and reinforce positions, exercise the tactical advance. This happens somewhere eight kilometres away from Horlivka, a town under pro-Russian forces control since April 2014, the same time the 25th brigade was es-tablished. Hiding in the bushes or only taking shelter from the scorching sun, soldiers seem a bit bored. This is nothing compared to Avdiivka, one of the hottest points on the front line since the Minsk II ceasefire agreement. They were in positions there up to one month ago. Soldiers recall getting around 120 artillery rounds and mortars fired at them on a daily basis. Now they get to play pool, volleyball, play songs from ATO (the Ukrainian government military operation to coun-ter separatist forces in the Donbass is called the “Anti-Terrorist Operation”) on the guitar and watch the evening news on big TV screen mounted on the back of a military truck.
Crickets and artillery rounds. This is the good night soundtrack Ukrainian soldiers in the 25th air-borne brigade go to sleep on every night. But the sound of blasts is muffled now, not deafening as it was for months on the first line of the war.