A surgeon was able to successfully extract a grenade from inside a Ukrainian soldier’s body, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have claimed on Twitter.
The unexploded grenade remained “live” inside of the soldier’s body and could have exploded at any time during the operation.
Surgeon Andriy Verba led the successful surgery and is one of the country’s most experienced military surgeons. He was pictured holding the grenade after it was removed from the patient’s body.
“Our military doctors performed an operation to remove an unexploded VOG grenade from the body of a serviceman,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Twitter.
“The operation continued in the presence of two sappers who monitored the safety of the medical staff and the patient,” the tweet also read.
The operation was conducted by Andriy Verba, an experienced military surgeon, and other medical staff. The sappers, also known as combat engineers, were at hand to diffuse the explosive if something went wrong.
The surgery was a success, and the injured soldier has reportedly been sent to a rehabilitation center to recover.
How did the grenade end up there?
The injury-causing grenade was likely fired from a grenade launcher. A handheld and thrown grenade would not have been able to penetrate the skin and lodge itself inside the soldier’s body.
The General Staff identified it as a VOG, meaning it was likely a VOG-25 or one of its variants. Some Russian soldiers use underslung grenade launchers which are attached to their rifles. Launchers enable soldiers to fire projectiles much further beyond the range of a handheld and thrown variant.
The AK-74M is the primary service rifle of the Russian military. They can be fitted with the GP-25, GP-30, or GP-34 40 mm under-barrel grenade launchers.
Casualties in the Ukraine conflict
Reliable figures for casualties sustained during the conflict in Ukraine thus far are a point of difficulty due to the fog of war.
In November 2022, the US military estimated that around two hundred thousand soldiers had been killed in the conflict so far on both sides. General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated that each side had sustained comparable casualties amounting to approximately one hundred thousand each.
A Ukrainian presidential adviser commented last month that between ten to thirteen thousand Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in action thus far.
Last September, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that 5,937 Russian troops had been killed in the war. Just after midnight on New Year’s Day, a Ukrainian missile strike reportedly struck a building in the occupied Donetsk region, killing about four hundred Russian soldiers.