The war in the east of Ukraine has not finished yet, but it has already entered the memory of the nation. These episodes revealing horrible deaths and miraculous salvations sometimes seem absolutely unreal.
A battalion tactical group of 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade was sent to Ilovaysk by ATO forces commandment to reinforce the general military advance at the beginning of August, 2014. This was an absolutely necessary step as volunteer battalions did not have any heavy weapons at that time.
The Brigade’s armed personnel carriers and tanks were actively used. There is no exact data as for the commanders of the group.
The only fact which is known is that their commander during some period of time was was Oleksiy Hrachyov, head of the department of troops military training of the “South” Headquarters Joint Operation Command.
In the evening on August 24, the group became joint when the remains of another APC brigade (several dozens of servicemen on seven APCs) managed to get through Russian militaries’ cordon from Saur-Mohyla via Kuteynykove. Servicemen of the 93rd Brigade comprised the core of the so-called south column which was to leave Ilovaysk by Mnohopillya-Chervonosilske-Osykove-Pobeda-Novokaterynivka-Komsomolske route. The column was headed by Oleksiy Hrachyov.
The way of the column breakthrough is very well described by mass media: there was a car with journalists, Fylyn, acting commander of “Donbas” battalion and other mass media workers in the column. As it consisted of so many different vehicles (tanks, APCs, civil and military cars) it was impossible to keep the speed and when Russian troops started shooting to kill Ukrainian servicemen, the column broke in two. A captured Т-72B-3 tank and practically all armored machinery had managed to get through the village of Chervonosilske, but the cars were moving slower along the motorway between Chervonosilske and Mnohopillya.
The only T-64 BV tank which the 93rd Bridage had was hit as soon as the attack began (its crew managed to leave it). General Khomchak decided not to stop to help the column under attack, but to advance and try to break through the entrapment in Novokaterynivka vicinity.
Two armed personnel carriers, which were a part of the north column, had gone to help the column under attack but at that time they were in the village of Ahronomychne. They had managed to go through the village of Volodarske practically without losses, however, Russian snipers started splitting the column into separate vehicles on the part of the motorway between Volodarske and Osykove.
A gun truck ZIL-131, which was carrying a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft mount, was the first one to be hit right near the entrance to the village. The crew was shot dead at once by the sniper fire, the rest of the servicemen who were in the vehicle body, managed to get into another car (in the end all of them were captured in the vicinity of Novokaterynivka). One APC and one “Ural” truck which was carrying the 93rd Brigade servicemen were hit in the village of Osykyne from an anti-tank guided missile.
As the survivors recalled later, all the people who managed to get out of the burning machinery, were killed (by machine gun fire) by snipers. Only several people out of the group which was going by the APC survived. At least one of them, Major Dmytro Denysov who was severely wounded blew himself up not to be captured.
There were some fantastic salvation stories: one soldier was lucky to survive after the ammunition load which was in the APC had detonated. He was covered by a tower which had gone off. Russian servicemen did not notice the soldier when they were clearing the territory and later he managed to get out of the entrapment. However, that was an exception. All the wounded were killed by Russian soldiers (all the witnesses who survived claim that those were soldiers wearing uniform without insignia and the majority of them looked like people from the south of Russia, namely, from the Caucasus).
Five wounded and shell-shocked servicemen tried to shoot back from machine guns. After they had run out of bullets, they started waving a white flag and were going to surrender. The enemies demanded that they should drop the arms down and lie down on the ground. As soon as the soldiers had done that, they were killed by an explosion of a grenade which had been thrown by the militants.
The first five militaries of the 93rd Brigade were captured near Osykove. All of them were wounded. Together with four captives from “Kryvbas” Battalion, they were ordered to undress and they had to go, sometimes running, to the east. Moreover, on the way, the soldiers were under constant psychological pressure and a couple of times they had to go through mock executions organized by Russian militaries.
Ukrainian servicemen did not lose their courage and behaved with dignity. The night of August 30, the undressed captives had to spend in a pit and in the morning they joined another group of captured wounded Ukrainian warriors. Later, they were handed over to the Red Cross representative.
The deadly way of 93rd Brigade. Part 2
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