Russia has arranged a training area near the town of Shchastye and tests here both weapons and guerrilla war methods.
We somehow call the line of demarcation as "peredok" (a front line). Presumably, this term was derived from the word "peredovaya" which has saved from the times of the Second World War. But our guide Valentin Tkalich calls it "nulyovka": "You see, there is the concept of the" plus "and" minus " depending on which side of the line you move. So, there is also "zero", or "null". The town of Shchastye located right up close to the Donets river may be rightly considered as "zero" level because the occupied territory is just across the river.
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Idyll has been violated by the commander of the countersabotage company Leonid Pantykin. According to Tkalich, the man was recently released from the hospital and is already in full blast with his direct duties. Just at home, I have noticed in the photo a scar that crosses his brow or else I would ask him whether this is a consequence of the recent injury or ...
- Do hostile sabotage-reconnaissance groups show increased activity? The holidays are near.
- If to compare with the previous year when I was in the Luhanskaya village there have been attempts of provocation on the May holidays, indeed. Do you remember, a landmine was laid before the holiday in the center where it was supposed honoring the veterans. So, provocations will undoubtedly be on the eve of Easter, and infiltrations to our side will be, too. They enter not for an hour, and for a day or more. Sometimes, we caught groups which went here for a month. With arms caches prepared in advance in our territory. That is, they know where is food for them, where are clothes, radios, and batteries for them.
- This is laid by locals?
- Russians come in mainly. But, of course, they can not do without those who know the area, the former foresters, hunters, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Measures which are used as guides. Any group consists of seven servicemen under Russian standards as they are trained in the territory of the former Military Aviation navigators School in Luhansk. They've got a center for training of sabotage groups.
- Have you managed to capture anybody?
- A group was captured by us at a New Year's Eve. Two of them were killed, and one man was taken. I talked then to the arrested person. He was a resident of Luhansk, and the task was to blow up the gas distribution station. I asked: "Do you know that one of the branches of this station leads to the Artemovskiy district where your family lives?" He has a wife, mother, and child here ; his house is heated by gas. I say: what you thought? - "I have such command..".
- Do you know their prices?
- You heard the so-called beekeeper has been recently condemned who laid a grenade in a jar of honey. We arrested him in the Luhanskaya village. 10 thousand dollars were sent on execution of this act of terrorism to the commandant's office of Luhansk from Russia. And this old man got in hands 8000 rubles. Plus, they gave him a hat and mobile phone.
- Have you noticed some changes in the tactics of the militants with incoming of spring?
- You know, we had so much new to see for two years of ATO! The other day we stopped at night in Kryakovka by friendlies and immediately came under mortar attack. Mines flew without an outgoing explosion; we had noticed them only when they already flew. There are many of the new: new machines, new guns. Russians test all here. But we are learning on their updates. New radars, new mufflers. There is information that the camouflage that protects against debris is brought. "Belka", or what is called ...
The commander also praised his weapon. He said that the new "Forts" both the guns, and the machines, are the best than their Russian counterparts. But he did not display optimistic forecasts. Having asked about the prospects he responded briefly: "Transnistria".
Or maybe he just likes his military work, and he does not think about himself without it?
Mickhail Bublik, Severodonetsk
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