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.
The deadly way of 93rd Brigade. Part 1
The destiny of the 93rd Brigade servicemen who were riding in a GAZ-66 truck was the most tragic one. The vehicle was hit by a militants’ shell when only several hundred metres remained to Novokaterynivka. The car turned over and seven servicemen died practically at once. Ten or eleven servicemen (different sources give different numbers) who were shell-shocked or wounded decided to surrender and started waving a white cloth. A “little green man” who had shoulder marks of the Russian Federation senior lieutenant told the militaries to get on their feet and go to some open space.
As soon as they got up, a fire was opened. Two soldiers died instantly the rest got new wounds. The ones who remained alive were targeted at by guns. A Russian officer ordered them to undress completely. This kind of torture was not enough for him so he told the soldiers to compete who would do it faster. Two young soldiers were too slow and he shot them dead.
An elderly Sergeant of the Ukrainian Armed Forces tried to reproach the military for that and he was shot in the head and back too. Two more warriors were killed in the same way a bit later. Later, the Red Cross representatives collected six corpses of Ukrainian soldiers on the place of execution. Five undressed bodies were lying near a tree and one more was not far from them. Only four people who were going by that car survived. Dmytro Kryvolap, one of them, gave a very detailed interview about those events.
"Our car was the fifth or the sixth one in the column. There were fifteen servicemen inside. Only several hundred metres remained and we would have got out of the shelling area, but they hit the engine of our car from a grenade launcher. The vehicle turned over. Almost all of us had already been wounded by that time.
The Russians were deliberately shooting dead those who could not move or get our from under the car. There were only seven of us left and we had practically run out of bullets. We all were twenty or twenty-two years old. Vanya Klevchuk was nearly nineteen. A Russian with a gun ordered to crawl to him and then to undress. Somehow he did not like Vanya, maybe, because he was the youngest, maybe, because he was wounded and could not undress quickly. The Russian started shooting at him but kept missing. Then, he came close to him, stood behind his back and shot him in the back and then in the head.
Absolutely undressed, we were escorted to Russian positions. One boy asked the guard to let him telephone his mother. The guard shot him dead. The sergeant who was the oldest in our group started asking the Russian not to kill young boys, but to kill him if he wanted to shoot someone so much. So, the guard did that.
Only four people survived. We were left on some stones on a hill. Our clothes were returned in about three hours. A major said that we would not be killed. He said that it was useless to fight with the Russian army. He also said that he did not know anything about the so-called green corridor. In fact, only a car with journalists and armor-plated “Donbas” van managed to get out of the entrapment.
Colonel Sydorenko’s captured tank T-72B3 got nearly to the edge of Novokaterynivka where it got under the enemy’s concentrated fire. The tank crew which also included Sergeant Serhiy Isayiv, gun-layer soldier Ihor Ivanchenko, mechanic and driver soldier Yevheniy Martynyuk, recall:
“The last Russian condons were situated on two heights on our flanks. We had to try to break through between them. I turned the tower in one direction and they were firing at our tank from another one. A tank was dug in there and I could not hit it as I could aim only at its tower.
As a result of their hits, all of us got multiple wounds by secondary pieces of tank armor, all the guidance units and the aiming device were broken. We had nearly broken through but then a direct hit got into our tank. It stopped, Martynuyk was thrown on the aiming device and was heavily wounded on his head. I was covered and protected by our machine gun fire and I took him out of the tank. We put a bandage on his head. We were lucky that no one was wounded in the eyes though we had multiple wounds by pieces of shells on our faces.
We could not repair the tank ourselves so we had to leave it. We had Serhiy’s assault rifle and my rifle could make only single shots as it was near me in the tank and was deformed by pieces of shell. We were saved by a sunflower field and by a ravine which we used to go past all the watches and ambushes. We managed to get to our troops”.
The last APCs of the Brigade were destroyed in Novokaterynivka. Colonel Hrachoyv was killed in one of them, his body with multiple wounds left by anti-tank shells was found there. The body of one of mechanic-drivers became a sad sight for all the residents of Starobesheve district. It was thrown up in the air by a blast wave and got stuck in the high-voltage wires. It remained there for about three weeks until occupants took it off.
According to the information collected by March 1, 2016, the losses of the 93rd Brigade during its breakthrough from the Ilovaysk kettle comprised 63 dead, 72 wounded and about 50 (different sources give different data) missing. Almost all the soldiers and officers of the Brigade who died during Ilovaysk events were killed and shot dead by Russian officers when they attempted to surrender.
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