Sept. 5, 2014, was a day when cease-fire was announced. 23 soldiers of Aidar battalion, including groups of callsigns 'Hrizli' and 'Terminator', were ordered to arrive to a checkpoint in 1.5 km from the village Tsvitni Pisky at the road between Shchastia and Metalist. This was a straight road to Shchastia.
The position had been controlled by the Ukrainian troops. However, due to unknown reasons, the units had left the checkpoint without a fight. Our troops in the A sector had not received the information and had not been warned of the threat. The enemy, to the opposite, had exact intelligence of the Ukrainian units.
The empty checkpoint was taken by a brigade of Russian mercenaries dubbed 'Batman', reinforced with a T-72 tank, two APCs, and up to 100 persons of infantry.
The [Ukrainian] unit was commanded by callsign 'Hrizli' - a well-known Euromaidan activist Andrii Yurkevych. He was one of those who had been fearlessly rescuing wounded on Instytutska Street under aimed shooting on Feb. 20, 2014. Here is his story of the Maidan events he managed to finish (in Ukrainian).
The youngest of the volunteers, Nazar Yakubovskyi, was only 17…
The most experienced in title and military experience was Staff Sergeant Oleksandr ' Terminator ' Skyba. Many of the volunteers had no previous army experience.
The enemy had deployed at the position in advance, and, judging by a video and a tank's position, had been expecting our troops from Shchastia direction. Possibly, it had waited for more than a day. From Metalist direction, an armored vehicle was deployed. A tank and an armored vehicle from Shchastia direction were located right near the road, so no long reconnaissance was needed to reveal the enemy in the area.
Aidar groups, including one led by Andrii 'Hrizli' Yurkevych and another by 'Terminator', comprising 23 persons, received a task to advance to the checkpoint and wait for tanks of the 1st tank brigade and paratroopers of the 80th airmobile brigade to arrive in the area.
Our military received neither warning of possible danger nor information of a unit that was supposed to meet Aidar. Thus, they had been given no armored vehicles for this simple task. 23 persons went to face their death by one ZIL truck and one car.
The nature of the accident could be estimated by a terrorists-made video and from stories told by surviving Aidar members.
Having no information, the vehicle drove up to the very checkpoint. As long as the armored vehicle did not join battle, Russian mercenaries did not expect our troops to enter their positions without reconnaissance.
There were Ukrainian flags wavering at the checkpoint. The vehicles drove up and stopped. There was no code word, nor identification circuit. " Who are you?" a terrorist asked. " We are Aidar," the response was. " This is Aidar!" And the enemy brought down fire.
A Shmel rocket launcher hit the truck directly. Even in this desperate situation, Aidar fighters did their best and have fulfilled their military duty. Someone of the command managed to fire an emergency flare in order to inform other units of the enemy in the area and that they were accepting their last battle. The grenade launcher managed to shot an RPG-7. Those who survived the explosion and were able to jump out of the vehicles opened tommy-gun fire, although they had no chances to survive and they probably knew it when shooting for the last time…
Stunned and shell-shocked Aidar soldiers were fighting to the end.
The situation was desperate - they were at the road, and the enemy was shooting at them from the greenery at point-blank range. The engagement lasted for some 15 minutes. Two Aidar soldiers managed to survive and reach the 80th airmobile brigade. After the emergency flare had been fired, it became clear that the enemy blocked the way from Metalist.
Today, after Censor.NET has studied the tactical situation near Luhansk on Sept. 5, it is clear that the route was supposed to be taken by several Ukrainian convoys with large quantities of military and additional equipment and lots of people. If not for Aidar's warning at the expense of their lives, the tragedy would have been much larger.
Here is Aidar's story to the anniversary of the tragedy (in Russian). However, the tragic events of Sept. 5 have not ended. After information had been received that 'Hrizli' and 'Terminator' groups had been attacked, a unit from the 2nd battalion of the 80th airmobile brigade rushed to rescue their Aidar comrades. They realized the risk, for the hostile defenses had not been smothered. The paratroopers attacked hastily, for they could not lose chances to save their comrades, and drew blood to the enemy in a last-ditch battle. The tank and the APC of the terrorists were destroyed. The paratroopers broke through the checkpoint, but there was no one to rescue there.
This breakthrough has been hard-won for the 80th brigade. We are planning a special article to cover the details of the 80th brigade's fight.
I hope that Chief Military Prosecutor Anatolii Matios will help to give legal evaluation to the tragedy circumstances. Who has abandoned the checkpoint? Who has failed to inform the troops? Aidar soldiers unofficially blame commander of the 1st tank brigade; the A sector's commander degree of responsibility shall also be studied, for he was supposed to manage cooperation between the units upon their retreat. There has been no investigation into the tragedy by the military command as of now. It is high time the prosecution interferes, for the guilt of the military command is obvious, and some of generals and colonels shall be drummed out of the army and taken to court.
13 Aidar battalion soldiers' death on Sept. 5, 2014 has been officially confirmed. Another one died in a Luhansk hospital in captivity. Only three managed to get away on their own. One has been exchanged and returned from captivity. Five soldiers are deemed missing in action. So, in total as of today, 19 have been killed and gone missing.
Of the 80th airmobile brigade, 23 soldiers were killed or went missing in the fight at the checkpoint on Sept. 5, 2014. Deaths of 10 paratroopers have been officially confirmed. These sorrowful lists continue to be updated. I have provided the image gallery below only for those who have been confirmed killed…
80th airmobile brigade:
41 persons, 41 patriots.
23 killed, 18 MIA, whose relatives do not lose hopes to find them…
They assumed the first assault of the Russian aggression. They went to the front when it was the most difficult, when they had to compensate for the absence of everything with their heroism. They died a heroic death and had been loyal to their oath and military duty. Never forget the fearless Ukrainian soldiers.
Andrii 'Hrizli' Yurkevych, Aidar volunteer, 32 years old.
In April 2015, Yurkevych's memoirs of the revolution [Euromaidan events - ed.] were reprinted in his home city of Ternopil. The image is from the presentation. He never made it to write about the war.
Nazar Yakubovskyi, volunteer, he will always be 17.
Andrii Bohush, Aidar volunteer, 37 years old.
Fedir Kolomiets, Aidar volunteer from Alchevsk, the Luhansk region, 33 years old.
Andrii Atamanchuk , Aidar volunteer, 36 years old.
'Terminator' - one of the most experienced Aidar volunteers, Staff Sergeant Oleksandr Skyba, commander of a group. 40 years old.
Vadym Shalatovskyi, Aidar volunteer, 31 years old.
Yurii Korol, Aidar volunteer, 36 years old.
Viktor Kumetskyi, Aidar volunteer, 41 years old.
Oleksii Stulov, Aidar volunteer from Kryvyi Rih, the Dnipropetrovsk region, 23 years old.
Yurii Kondratiuk, Aidar volunteer, 30 years old.
Serhii Parkhomenko, Aidar volunteer, 39 years old.
Dmytro Rozhkov, Aidar volunteer, 35 years old.
Ivan Isyk, Aidar volunteer, 30 years old. Killed in captivity.
Anatolii Havryliuk, Warrant Officer of the 80th airmobile brigade, 34 years old.
Mykola Fedus, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 18 years old.
Ivan Lemeshchuk, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 21 years old.
Ivan Sova, Junior Sergeant of the 80th airmobile brigade, 18 years old.
Stepan Brodiak, Junior Sergeant of the 80th airmobile brigade, 29 years old.
Viktor Brazhniuk, Junior Sergeant of the 80th airmobile brigade, 33 years old.
Ivan Vorobel, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 33 years old.
Volodymyr Solomchuk, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 22 years old.
Ruslan Stepula, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 31 years old.
Pavlo Redkovych, soldier of the 80th airmobile brigade, 22 years old.
Yurii BUTUSOV, Censor.NET