After Vuhlehirsk was abandoned and Kalynivka capitulated, Lohvynove was an expected direction of the enemy's activities. It is the nearest village to Kalynivka and Vuhlehirsk, located at the M-103 road, major supply highway to Debaltseve.
Occupation of Lohvynove meant that our troops at the Debaltseve bridgehead were tactically encircled. From that day on, the situation in Debaltseve became that of 'either-or.' It was either the Ukrainian command kicked the enemy out of Lohvynove and liberated the major supply highway, or they had to prepare for a breakthrough, for it was difficult to supply the group via the road that could be easily approached by the enemy from the eastern flank of the bridgehead. The occupation of Lohvynove changed the course of the battle.
According to Censor.NET's investigation materials, the strategically important village of Lohvynove, through which Debaltseve-Artemivsk highway had been controlled, happened in the night of Feb. 9.
Chief of General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said in his interview to "Dzerkalo Tyzhnia": "At the beginning, only an observation point of the 54th separate reconnaissance battalion with one vehicle was located in Lohvynove. When they recorded redeployment of a large group of armed people with armored vehicles, they informed about it and abandoned Lohvynove."
As it turned out, according to soldiers of the 30th mechanized brigade, Lohvynove was not in fact left without defense. It has emerged that the sector's command realized the importance of this village and put out reserves for its defense.
As of Feb. 8, heights from the direction of Vuhlehirsk and Kalynove village were covered by major reserves of the S sector - the 1st battalion of the 30th mechanized brigade commanded by Serhii Sobko. On Feb. 8 the battalion was deployed at six positions along the M-103 highway and was covering Lohvynove from any unexpected assaults. With tanks, IFVs, anti-tank weapons. These forces were hard to kick out from their positions. But the enemy didn't have to.
Ukrainian units abandoned Lohvynove upon an order. In the evening of Feb. 8 the S sector's HQ ordered the 1st battalion to abandon their positions. Lohvynove had been opened, leaving only four scouts of the 54th recon battalion there. The enemy uncovered the movement and opened mortar fire upon the leaving units. Why there were no reserves redeployed to Lohvynove upon the 1st battalion's retreat for rest, a company, a platoon with several armored vehicles? Why did they have to dismiss everyone?
The same night, a recon platoon of Russian mercenaries, commanded by officer with call sign 'Olkhon,' slid into Lohvynove effortlessly past the positions abandoned by Ukrainian troops upon the order.
Lookouts of the 54th recon battalion left Lohvynove and informed about the key village's occupation by the enemy.
By the dawn at 6 a.m. the enemy had redeployed two tanks and one IFV of the 3rd motorized rifle brigade of "DPR" mercenaries from Kalynivka to Lohvynove and deployed its defensive posture.
The tragedy began.
The reason for the troops' withdrawal - unofficial one, the one I found out - "to allow the battalion having some rest." But it was weird to allow them having some rest by opening the front line and abandoning the key village, at the price of our troops' encirclement. It's hard to believe that the command was not aware of those risks.
The sector's executive officer Domanskyi and sector commander Taran are the ones accountable for the order to withdraw from Lohvynove.
Despite being timely informed of the enemy's occupation of Lohvynove, the S sector command had not assumed measures for notifying its troops; the road had been blocked from the direction of neither Artemivsk, nor Debaltseve for another six hours!
Due to this criminal lack of administration, Ukrainian military that knew nothing about it and were traveling along the road got directly into the ambush. The road was closed only by noon from two sides. 24 Ukrainian soldiers were captured and shot by the enemy; some of them went missing, four had been captured and survived; three remain captives still. At least nine vehicles were destroyed.
The Lohvynove tragedy should be known to everyone in Ukraine. That's the price of the encirclement. That ' s the price of incompetence.
Russian mercenaries were filming the killing of their victims.
At about 8:30 a.m. the 1st battalion of the 30th brigade attempted returning to their positions abandoned in Lohvynove the day before. Some 12 hours ago they were there and now they had to return. However, the enemy had time to deploy its defensive posture. Two T-64 tanks of the 30th brigade that were going ahead were fired at from anti-tank missile systems and destroyed. The attack died out.
"There has been no encirclement," that's what the General Staff and its PR-army hired by the Presidential Administration has lied about ever since.
There has been no encirclement, but there are victims of the encirclement. Unfortunately, they were the first, but not the last…
Four military of the 40th motorized infantry battalion led by deputy commander Volodymyr Sarychev were captured. Sarychev has been exchanged, but the other three soldiers remain captive until now.
The following soldiers, faithful to their military duty and the oath to the people of Ukraine, died heroic death in Lohvynove on Feb. 8:
128th mountain infantry brigade:
Major Oleksii Hurtov
Senior Lieutenant Vasyl Bilak
Sergeant Roman Chornobai
Soldier Roman Sovlych
Colonel Ihor Pavlov ( killed after tortures )
Lieutenant - Colonel Artur Muzyka
Colonel Serhii Tsyhanok ( killed after tortures )
Major Svatoslav Vasylenko
Sergeant Anton Makarenko
101st brigade of military police service:
Major Mykyta Nedovodiiev
30 th mechanized brigade:
Senior Lieutenant Serhii Romanchuk
Sergeant Serhii Sukhenko
Soldier Serhii Lialevych
Sergeant Vasyl Demchuk (killed in captivity after tortures)
Soldier Pavlo Platsynskyi (killed in captivity after tortures)
Soldier Oleksandr Berdes (killed in captivity after tortures)
Senior Sergeant Yevhen Korota
Soldier Vadym Katyshov
7th separate medical ambulance company:
Soldier Anatolii Sulyma (killed in captivity)
Mykhailo Baliuk (killed in captivity)
1st Pyrohov separate medical company of the National Guard
Captain Taras Konchevych
Soldier Vasyl Zadorozhnyi
Soldier Maksym Ovcharuk
Soldier Dmytro Lahunov
Several military are considered missing in action, their fate unknown:
Soldier Vadym Fedorchenko
Soldier Oleksandr Kravchenko
The Main Milirary Prosecution should answer all the questions regarding why S sector decided to withdraw the defenses, why the troops had not been informed and the road blocked, and why all the attempts to kick the enemy out of Lohvynove failed.
I ask all who participated in the battles of Lohvynove on Feb. 9-12, 2015 to contact us. I spoke to many of them, but not all. We must know everything.
May the memory of the killed live forever. We will not forget.
Yurii Butusov, Censor. NET
Images by Knyha Pamiati, Poshuk.
Related materials: Episodes of the Russian-Ukrainian war