This is reported by Censor.NET citing the article of Ilya Barabanov in Kommersant newspaper.
Misha, 20 years old, was born in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Lesha, 21, is from Mozdok, Russia, Artem, 22, is from Slaviansk-na-Kubani, Russia, Dima, 23, is from Vladikavkaz. There are also guys from Chita, Norilsk, Ulan-Ude, [all Russian cities - ed.]
They are so different at first glance. But still there is something in common - city of N, military base *****, N separate motorized rifle brigade.
Until recently, all of them were contract soldiers there. In December and January, they posted pictures in social media where they all were together on the base; in summer they posted pictures from trainings. And selfies in beautiful uniforms.
But two or three weeks ago it all changed, and now we see two comrades-in-arms without insignia hugging at one of Horlivka's squares; another one posts a picture where three young guys sit on an armored vehicle somewhere near Debaltseve. The third one posts an image of a 'DPR' tank stuck in an entrenchment - the main sight at the destroyed Vuhlehirsk entrance.
The logic of military operations in recent months is quite simple: only those who really know how to fight leave to perform combat missions on the part of either the self-proclaimed republics or "certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions" (as written in the Minsk agreement). They solve a given task and depart; then a city or village they just seized is filled with local mercenaries, who meet reporters at checkpoints and willingly talk about their past as miners. At some point, one can really believe that only locals fight with 'junta', but then someone blurts out:
- There are Buryats behind that waste pile.
- What Buryats?
- Well … Donbas Indians.
Everybody smiles, everything is understood. In the last days before the final assault on Debaltseve, in order to once again not flash the "Buryats," journalists were not let into Vuhlehirsk, from where an offensive into the salient was commenced. A couple of days after the attack, when Debaltseve is finally mopped up and checkpoints are filled with miners, journalists will be again allowed to come in.
Much has been said of strategic importance of Debaltseve in recent days - it is direct road connecting Donetsk and Luhansk, and the largest railway junction, and important height from the artillery point of view. But how many hundreds of people were killed on both sides during the offensive lasting for almost a month, we will not learn anytime soon.
After Debaltseve was seized, the front line once again straightened. There is an option that the cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk will now be complied with from time to time, the fire will stop completely or at least decrease for a month or two until someone decides that the self-proclaimed republics cannot go on living without Mariupol, Artemivsk or Lysychansk. Then "political commissars" in military units throughout the large country [Russia - ed.] once again will get active with stories about how important it is to save the freedom-loving Donbas from Western aggression. No one is forced to go - volunteers only.
Misha, Lesha, Artem, Dima - they all signed resignation tenders before leaving. If some of those guys in very unlucky at the Debaltseve offensive - well, that would be an unlucky volunteer who has nothing to do with the military unit and the brigade by the moment of his death.
- You were sent to training to the Rostov region, or you were told straight that you go to Ukraine?
- Straight. You see what happens here, everybody wanted to come. I went to the army not for sewing or digging.
- Is your 'business trip' for long or until you get called back?
- Until we leave. I would like to fight either by the end of the war or until my last breath.
- Why do you need this? - I asked one of them.
- We were told that we could help stop this war, - I was answered.
But one cannot stop a war by riding an armored vehicle. A war can be stopped only when all get off the armored vehicles and return home, at least to their own country from the neighboring one.
p.s. The author knows full names of all characters of the story, but the editorial board does not believe it appropriate to make them public at the moment.
Ilya Barabanov, Kommersant