US soldier describes utter chaos of fighting in Ukraine like a video game

A former US soldier who served one tour of Iraq said the early days of the conflict in Ukraine was "utter chaos" and added that he and his battalion were able to pick off Russian troops "like it was a video game."

Jeffrey Barnes, an alias given to him by Newsweek, told the publication that he entered Ukraine through Slovakia on February 28 before leaving at the end of June.

The 32-year-old, who fought in Iraq a decade ago before an honorary discharge, is flying to Rome to rejoin his fellow soldiers in the Azov Regiment.

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He told the US publication: "This is such an insane loss of life over there.

"I put on over 100 tourniquets in my first month of being in Kyiv. It's like Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing on this… isolated combat, driving around waiting for someone to shoot at us.

"I thought I knew what war was. No, no, no. That's not war. This is war. It's just insane."

But Barnes, who fought in Kyiv and Odesa, as well as Bucha, did concede that the early days fighting in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin's "special operation" was a bit of a mess.

He said there was "utter chaos" and "no organization", and Ukrainian soldiers were not skilled or experienced.

The Ukrainian Legion "at the time was horrible."

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"You were better off picking up a stick in the woods and running barefoot," said Barnes, who added that the Russian set up appeared to be the same.

He said the Russian strategy from the beginning was "absolutely laughable."

He added: "Most guys we capture, it's not 'drop the weapon,' he said. "Most guys don't even have one. … The term, 'it's like a video game,' is constantly echoed by Ukrainians in the context of, the Russians just come at you and you shoot them like it's a video game.

"You're almost not afraid. I would take a gunfight every day over all the other crap.

"We were all waiting every moment of every day for the big a-ha gotcha–like, oh, 'This was a big ruse' and it's never come. It's been like this since Day One."

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