Ukrainian servicemen began retreat from Debaltseve on Wednesday. The town was seized by Russian servicemen but not by local fighters.
Russian journalist Illya Barabanow wrote about this in his reportage for Commersant newspaper.
He mentions 4 Russian servicemen who served under contract in one of mechanized infantry brigades.
However, 2-3 weeks ago all changed and the two friends without differential signs embrace each other in the town of Horlivka [Eastern Ukraine]. The other militant published photo in social networks where three young men sit on armored vehicle somewhere on road to Debaltseve. The third serviceman publishes a picture of destroyed tank of DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic]. This stuck in a trench vehicle has become the main attraction at the entrance to destroyed town of Vuhlehirsk which terrorists have recently seized.
Journalist Barabanow also writes that the friends got to war after January 20, 2015 when active hostilities resumed in Donbas. Before that the servicemen had written discharge reports.
The servicemen are allegedly on indefinite leave in Ukraine. According to them, their commanders didn’t object and welcomed their wish saying why they should go there and protect their motherland.
The journalist informs how Russian servicemen entered Ukrainian territory. They didn’t go to Donbas by their military division but in groups of three people – in combat vehicle crews. Having arrived to the place they were assigned to already established military divisions of DNR army.
Thus the journalist explains that those who know how to fight conduct battles, and then local rebels come to already occupied settlements, commandments and checkpoints to meet the journalists. They would willingly talk about their past as miners.
Before assault of Debaltseve in order to avoid publicity for ‘buryats’ [one of RF nationalities] or ‘Donbas Indians’ (fighters give this nickname for Russian servicemen), journalists were not allowed to enter Vulhehirsk from where the attack started.
Then, according to Barabanov, when Debaltseve is finally ‘swept’ and DNR fighters again appear at checkpoints, journalists will again be allowed there.
Journalist Barabanov also speak of active agitation among Russian soldiers. He assumes that in case of further assault of terrorists the so-called ‘political directors’ will resume their activity in military units in Russia. They would tell how it is important to help the freedom-loving Donbas fight western aggression. ‘No force, only volunteers’, – the journalist says.
He also quotes conversation with Russian military who informs that their commandment immediately informed them of their destination – war in Ukraine.
‘They said immediately. You see yourself what these beasts are doing, all asked to go there. I do not serve in army to learn to sew and dig’, – the soldier says. He also adds that their commandment assures them that they would stop war by participating.
In the end of his reportage the author mentions that he knows the full names of interviewers. However, he wouldn’t publish them so far.