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As winter has turned to spring there is no let up in the fighting in what should be a season of hope and renewal.

Through forest roads which shimmer in the late April sunshine, Ukrainian forces race to fortify the Donbas.

Every day brings new violence with Russian artillery indiscriminately hitting the small villages on the frontline. We watch black smoke on the horizon from the fires caused by the shelling.

Eventually, after winding for an age through eerily empty roads, we reach Oleksandrivka. Russian forces are about 2km away.

And as we enter the village we can see it’s now almost deserted.

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We met a few soldiers packing up belongings.

They’ve spent the last few days evacuating this area, which is now being hit with shells, as Russian forces try to advance.

One of the men wants to show us a farm that’s just been hit – we can hear the rolling thunder of shelling in the distance.

As we follow, he tells us to use the trees as cover.

There are drones above, he says, and standing in the open can get you killed.

He shows us the place. It’s too dangerous to go further he warns.

The family, who lived here escaped but it soon comes under attack again and we are running for cover.

Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced, or trapped by this conflict.

The frontlines are shifting all the time and as Russian forces advance many villages like this one are now in the firing line.

This war is as unpredictable as it is brutal.

The soldier, who doesn’t want to give his name, tells us that in some cases they’ve had to make people leave the area, their homes and their possessions for their own good.

"We evacuated all people from here even people that didn’t want to leave. We convinced them. Firstly civilians have to be evacuated from here. It’s not their war. There were children here and they need to be evacuated."

Nearby we meet a group of medics. Their unit is taking a break behind the frontline.

It’s a chance to grab rest and share food under the cover of the woodland.

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Military medic, Ariets, says that every day is difficult treating comrades but he is convinced Vladimir Putin’s forces can be defeated.

He said: "We are on our land. There’s no way back for us but most of them (Russian soldiers) don’t understand what they are doing here and even if some them had a brain they would understand that they are murderers and occupiers."

This war is now entering its third month.

And as Ukraine reinforces its army in the East with fresh soldiers and new weapons, its army knows the next few weeks will be decisive.

© Sky News 2022