Issued on: 21/05/2022 – 08:36Modified: 21/05/2022 – 08:34
<span class="t-location">Bakhmutske (Ukraine) (AFP) – </span>The wounded coal miner peered through his shrapnel-splayed windshield and tried to ignore the flopping noises coming from his blown tyres as he drove along Ukraine’s last link with the besieged east. </p><div> <p>The cars around him had just screeched to a halt because of a sudden burst of fire from somewhere in the overhanging forest.
But Sergiy Tokarev seemed impervious to the danger after being shelled on his way back to the frontline village of Zolote to rescue his stranded neighbours.
The 60-year-old ended up turning his van around and spending the night on an open road that has turned into the latest target of Russian forces advancing from the east.
White smoke from burning fields shrouded the debris of charred buildings smouldering behind him.
Tokarev glanced out his window and grumbled about the headache he will have finding new tyres nearly three months into Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.
“There are grandmothers and grandfathers stranded back there,” he said, edging his van down the road at a crawl.
His dented and screeching wheel rims looked long past the point at which they should have fallen off.
His right thigh was bandaged after being grazed by shrapnel that came flying at him on the outskirts of his hometown.