Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET Chief Editor reports.
By early August, the situation in the surrounded units of the D Sector had become critical. Divisions of the 72nd and 51st mechanized brigades suffered the most: they were deployed at the farthest location of the surrounded area and had next to nothing supplied - convoys could not break through minefields and under the fire of Russian artillery.
People were surviving in incredibly harsh conditions, under constant unpunished Russian artillery shelling, repulsing the attacks of Russian mercenaries.
There was nothing - no fuel, no spare parts, no food, no water, and no engineering equipment to entrench deep into the ground.
They spent nearly a month being surrounded.
Most of the fighting vehicles had been already destroyed by the precision fire of the Russian artillery and guided missiles.
Russian propaganda and agitators actively disseminated information that a breakthrough was not possible and everyone should give up their weapons.
It was important for the Russian Federation at that time to gain mostly psychological victory over the Ukrainian army. They wanted to ensure the surrender in order to demonstrate noneffectiveness of the painstakingly created Ukrainian army. Russia paid much attention to demoralization of the army and the society.
Commander of the 1st battalion of the 72nd brigade, the unit of the 51st Brigade, and a group of border guards did not believe in the possibility of a successful breakthrough. About 400 Ukrainian military destroyed their weapons and went over to territory of the Russian Federation. They had been interned and subsequently transferred to Ukraine. None of them violated the oath, everyone continued their service.
It seemed that the situation of those surrounded near Chervonopartyzansk was just hopeless.
But the commander of the 2nd battalion, Major Mykhailo Drapatyi did not want to yield himself prisoner. He gathered all his forces together, all the scattered units around him, all that was left of the brigade, prepared all equipment that could be repaired for a battle, and led the armed troops from Chervonopartyzansk to a breakthrough. By the way, those who have decided to fight to a finish were joined by some soldiers of the 1st battalion and the 51st brigade.
Drapatyi made the decision at his own risk. He and the officers, who had no doubts about inadmissibility of surrender, undertook the whole plan and organization.
The assault was successful. The enemy did not expect that the Ukrainian troops could do it.
It is difficult to describe in what extreme conditions the operation took place; how huge the risk was - they were battling through on the very edge of the border with Russia, unexpectedly for the enemy. Losses incurred during the breakthrough were minimal. Drapatyi brought out almost all of them - only two fighters were killed out of the whole large convoy.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Mykhailo Drapatyi's deed in the most difficult time and in a hopeless tactical situation. He did it all himself, together with the officers and soldiers, who believed in his commander's skills.
With the help of comrades-in-arms from the 30th mechanized and 95th airmobile brigades, who liberated the village of Stepanivka and covered the breakthrough from the south, composite group of Major Drapatyi beat the odds - they broke through. They have also evacuated the equipment they were able to save.
For his courage and professionalism, Mykhailo Drapatyi obtained a rank of lieutenant colonel in advance from the Defense Minister Valerii Heletei and was sent for training at the National Defense Academy.
However, Mykhailo has not graduated - he is now executive officer of the 30th mechanized brigade.
Thank you, Mykhailo, we will never forget the significance of your deed in the most difficult time.
Thank you for holding in such conditions when so few could save their fighting capacity and not lose their heart.
Thank you for saving lives of most of your soldiers.
Thank you for praising our Motherland's honor higher than your own life.
Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET