Once in awhile old-fashioned journalism is best way to figure out what’s going on. A great example comes today from the New York Times as two reporters detail what’s happening on the ground as Russia/separatists mount a counter-offensive in Ukraine.

Exhausted, filthy and dismayed, Ukrainian soldiers staggering out of Novoazovsk for safer territory said Tuesday they were cannon fodder for the forces coming from Russia. As they spoke, tank shells whistled in from the east and exploded nearby.

Some of the retreating Ukrainian soldiers appeared unwilling to fight. The commander of their unit, part of the 9th Brigade from Vinnytsia, in western Ukraine, barked at the men to turn around, to no effect. “All right,” the commander said. “Anybody who refuses to fight, sit apart from the others.” Eleven men did, while the others returned to the city.

They write that some Ukrainian troops are in a full, chaotic retreat.