Ukrainian soldiers share horrors of Debaltseve battle after stinging defeat
Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers retreat from strategic town taken by pro-Russia separatists, leaving their dead and wounded comrades behind
A long line of military vehicles crawled north on the highway leading out of the abandoned government positions in Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine, pulling a motley assortment of half-destroyed ambulances, trucks without wheels and tanks without treads.
Those soldiers who had managed to get out of the ruins of the besieged town were immediately recognisable, their wide eyes staring out from a thick coating of grime as they waited for buses to take them back to Artemivsk. A group of national guardsmen fired their Kalashnikov assault rifles in the air to celebrate their close escape.
Analysis After separatists' victory in Debaltseve, will Putin stick or twist?
If Russia and the rebels continue to breach the ceasefire or otherwise overplay their hand, they are likely to face a much tougher US response
In what marks a strategic victory for pro-Russia forces and a stinging defeat for Kiev, thousands of government troops retreated from Debaltseve starting in the small hours of Wednesday, most of them on foot through the surrounding fields.
In the government-controlled village of Luhanske, which lies at the end of a deadly 10-mile stretch of highway out of Debaltseve, first lieutenant Yuriy Prekharia described how he led 50 men through the fields and forests to reach Ukrainian positions. "We knew that if we stayed there it would be definitely either be captivity or death," he told the Guardian, as armoured vehicles passed by carrying hundreds of dirty soldiers. Heavy artillery boomed and rockets streaked through the sky as government forces tried to cover their comrades" retreat.
Standing in front of the presidential plane in a camouflage coat before leaving Kiev for a visit to the front line, Ukraine"s leader Petro Poroshenko said he had ordered the "planned and organised retreat" from the strategically important rail hub after the opposing side had denied access to European observers.
But the withdrawal seemed anything but orderly, and Prekharia said the decision to pull back had been made by the senior commanders on the ground when they saw that the situation was becoming catastrophic. Other soldiers said artillery and ambushes had been waiting for them on their way out.
Combat medic Albert Sardarian said he had been woken up at 1am for a sudden withdrawal in armoured vehicles with about 1,000 other men. Pro-Russia forces ambushed the column in the morning, so the survivors had to continue on foot, leaving their dead and wounded behind.
"There was one guy whose hand had been blown off. I could only stop his blood and put him in a comfortable place, hoping that the armoured vehicles following us would pick him up," Sardarian said.
Smoking cigarettes outside the hospital in Artemivsk, weary soldiers, many of them with light wounds, described leaving behind carnage and destruction in Debaltseve. "There"s no city left, it"s destroyed," said a soldier with the call sign Sailor. "Two hours after the ceasefire, awful things started ... Residents are in basements. Lots of bodies haven"t been picked up because the separatists are shooting".
"It was a madhouse. It was Chechnya," said a soldier named Igor Nekrasov, referring to the bloody separatist conflicts in Russia"s Chechnya region. Nekrasov said he expected the opposing side to continue attempting to take strategically important cities, echoing the doubts that many in Artemivsk hold after two previous failed truces.
"You can"t trust the Russians. They lie, lie, lie," said Igor, a gunner in an armoured personnel carrier that was preparing to pick up more soldiers fleeing Debaltseve. "I don"t think this ceasefire will work".
The Ukrainian authorities insisted that Debaltseve had never been surrounded, but army medics and soldiers who escaped the city told the Guardian that shelling and mines along the road had cut off the flow of ammunition, supplies and ambulances to Debaltseve for more than a week.
Kiev"s armed forces command said on Wednesday that 22 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and more than 150 wounded in Debaltseve in the past few days, although with many Ukrainian troops reported to still be in the city it could be some time before the real death toll becomes clear. The director of the Artemivsk morgue told the Guardian that the bodies of 23 soldiers had been delivered since Tuesday night. Many of them had bullet wounds, he said, suggesting close-quarters combat.
Russian state-owned television showed rebels hoisting their flag over a high-rise building in Debaltseve, as well as images of several dozen captured Ukrainian troops being led along a village road.
The seizure of the city, which holds a highway crossing and a rail junction connecting Donetsk and Luhansk, is a major victory for the breakaway "people"s republics" based in those two cities. "Coal from the DPR will go to Luhansk and other cities through this railroad junction," Donetsk leader Alexander Zakharchenko told a Russian website from a position on the outskirts of Debaltseve on Tuesday. He was later injured in the ankle by an exploding mortar shell.
The fall of Debaltseve also represents a win for president Vladimir Putin, whose government has backed the pro-Russia forces with heavy weapons and soldiers. In Budapest on Tuesday, Putin called for Kiev to give up Debaltseve. The leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine, who met with the Russian president in Minsk last week to hammer out a peace plan for eastern Ukraine, told a European Union summit that Putin had attempted to delay the ceasefire for 10 days to force the city"s surrender.
But the end of weeks of fighting for Debaltseve could breathe new life into the stillborn ceasefire, which was broken by shelling in the area almost as soon as it began on Sunday. Rebel leader Zakharchenko had previously said his forces would observe the ceasefire everywhere except in Debaltseve, which he said rightfully belonged to the rebels.
Although both sides were supposed to begin withdrawing heavy weapons on Tuesday according to the Minsk agreement, Kiev and Donetsk said they could not do so while fighting was ongoing.
But in a sign of progress for the peace plan, Igor Plotnitsky, head of the Luhansk People"s Republic, said on Wednesday afternoon that his forces had begun pulling back heavy weapons and expected Kiev to respond in kind. Donetsk deputy military head Eduard Basurin said his forces were pulling back five self-propelled guns from Olenivka, south of Donetsk, as a "first step".
But fighting reportedly continued on Wednesday afternoon near the coastal city of Mariupol, where Poroshenko said last week his forces had begun a "counter-offensive" to push the front line back to where it was before a September ceasefire. The local organisation Mariupol Defence reported that rebels had fired nine times with mortars and machine guns at the village of Shirokyne, which has reportedly seen tank and artillery battles in recent days, wounding two of Kiev"s fighters.
"What agreements can we have with terrorists? The main problem is that we sit at a table with terrorists and sign a paper, and then base our policy on this paper that is not worth anything," said Ilya Kiva, deputy police chief for the Donetsk region, who also fought in Debaltseve. He complained that Ukrainian forces had only been allowed to open retaliatory fire after the ceasefire began. "Yet again these bandits used the ceasefire to make treacherous strikes against us."
The ignominious retreat may have political fallout for Poroshenko"s government. Semyon Semyonchenko, a well-known MP and commander of the Donbass battalion, blamed the Kiev leadership for the defeat and said in a post on Facebook that he would call for the resignation of army commander Viktor Muzhenko at the next session of the security and defence committee.
"What hindered us in Debaltseve? We had enough men and material," Semyonchenko wrote. "The problem was with the leadership and coordination of actions … What"s going on now is the result of incompetent management of our troops, even though they"re trying to cover this up with a propaganda storm".
вот вопрос - почему этих тварей за язык не прихватывают. На украине с этого начиналось, и в перстройку по Союзу - с гнид, ливших потоки яда в уши. Безнаказанно.EvMitkov писал(а):...На этот раз отличилась «Новая газета», а точнее ее спецкорр Елена Костючеенко...
ДЕСАНТНИКИ ИЗ РОССИИ ПОТРЕБОВАЛИ ОТ КАРАТЕЛЕЙ СНЯТЬ ВСЮ РУССКУЮ И СОВЕТСКУЮ СИМВОЛИКУ
Десантники из России потребовали от карателей снять всю русскую и советскую символику
Десантники Татарстана обратились к украинским карателям, прислуживающим профашистской оккупационной киевской власти, с настоятельным требованием изъять из своей амуниции советские знамена ВДВ и стереть все эмблемы ВДВ.
Соответствующее обращение к бойцам аромобильных бригад Украины в паблике десантников Набережных Челнов появилось в одной из социальных сетей, сообщают российские СМИ. Согласно полученным от ополчения Новороссии данным, в разгромленных котлах среди трофеев были обнаружены знамена и символика, которую украинские оккупанты нагло используют до сих пор.
«Вы не имеете на это никакого права! Снимите голубые береты и тельники. Их придумал москаль и «русский оккупант» Герой СССР Маргелов В. Ф. Голубые береты, тельники, знамёна ВДВ и эмблемы носят наследники советских воинов, громившие нацистов», - написали в своем обращении к украинским военным российские десантники. Фактически татарстанские бойцы ВДВ этим обращением поддержали аналогичное требование добровольцев-десантников Новороссии.
Как сообщается, с начала 2015 года в ряды армии Новороссии вступили пятеро жителей города Набережные Челны, которые когда-то проходили службу в Воздушно-десантных войсках России. Теперь они оставили свои мирные профессии и отправились на Донбасс защищать мирное население от украинской оккупации.
Подробнее: http://antifashist.com/item/desantniki- ... z3Tb9V2SdW
Dvu.ru-shnik писал(а):«Вы не имеете на это никакого права! Снимите голубые береты и тельники.
Их придумал москаль и «русский оккупант» Герой СССР Маргелов В. Ф.
Голубые береты, тельники, знамёна ВДВ и эмблемы носят наследники советских воинов, громившие нацистов»
Вот те же будёновки.
Андрей писал(а):Разговор о том, что и в одном и в другом случае всё оказалось органичным. Потому как базировалось на настоящей а не выдуманной основе. И надеждах и чаяниях реальности, имеющими в своей исторической протяжённости крепчайшую связь. Истоки и устремления в будущее..
minikiforov писал(а):C будёновками, на мой взгляд, по другому. Всё же армия Российской империи была армией, защищавшей не столько царя, сколько Отечество. И это - защита Отечества, не противоречила никоим образом задачам и новой власти.
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