We need help with restoring the honest names of Ukrainian soldiers who were killed in battles for Debaltseve. They can only count on our memory and our fight for their honest name. They are not traitors, they are heroes. This remembrance and respect are needed by their relatives and their children. While traitors from the General Staff, who had devoted the heroes to destruction and are now killing the honest name of the soldiers from the 40th battalion, should be subjected to lasting shame.
Look at the map - this is a satellite image of Debaltseve from 2015. Black spots on it are artillery explosions at two Ukrainian strongpoints - 'Moisha' and 'Kopio, which were defended by units of the 40th motorized infantry battalion and tankmen of the 17th tank brigade during a month. The enemy really wanted to destroy the positions - they opened direct access to Debaltseve from the east - this is why the impact zone is this large.
On this spot, more than 120 our soldiers and officers were fighting and dying during a month. But the enemy did not manage to seize these positions before our troops' breakthrough.
A spot at the left is Lohvynove; it was shelled by S sector's major artillery and the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) Staff artillery for several days. A spot to the left, near 'Kopio' and 'Moisha' - who knows about these battles? And the spot is not smaller. In that area the enemy was breaking through bald-headed.
They have rebuffed numerous assaults. After Feb. 9 they were surrounded from flanks, on Feb. 13 they were completely encircled. The S sector's Staff announced a cease-fire on Feb. 15. From that moment on, use of Ukrainian artillery had been banned, and they received no support. At the same time, the enemy continued firing. The defenders of the strongpoints found themselves in a critical situation, because the enemy was unfettered at shooting upon their positions. They had nothing to retaliate with. There had been no supplies of ammunition after Feb. 9. The reserves had not come. On Feb. 17, 2015, after having used all ammunition and losing military equipment, the personnel of these strongpoints - 90 soldiers of the 40th battalion and two soldiers of the 17th tank brigade - received an order from the battalion commander Pocherniaiev to remain alive; at 5:45 p.m. they yielded themselves prisoners.
They surrendered after losing all means for holdout and receiving information that they would not be unblocked.
Today the state propaganda, funded by taxpayers, is telling its own version of the Debaltseve events - 'there had been no encirclement,' 'the operation was successful,' 'it all went as planned.' Those who participated in the Debaltseve events know the truth and cannot be fooled.
There is special meanness in this propaganda which cannot be left without attention. The authorities have desecrated the memory of killed and surviving soldiers of the 40th motorized infantry battalion, who, unlike high-profile frats, were not hiding from the war behind their fathers' backs and mandates, but did duty by the Fatherland.
The Chief of the General Staff Muzhenko voiced the following reasons for surrendering Debaltseve:
"The 40th battalion opened access to Debaltseve. That's a fact. 107 soldiers yielded themselves prisoners and were passed back by the enemy after three days, on their own initiative, without any conditions. That's a fact as well."
These words have been repeated across the propaganda in movies and videos.
That's a blatant lie.
1. The passage to Debaltseve was opened after our units retreated from Nikishyne, Chornukhyne, Ridkodub, after shameful yielding of Lohvynove without striking a blow, after retreating from Vuhlehirsk.
2. 92, not 107 soldiers were taken captive.
3. The captives were exchanged for enemy soldiers.
4. The enemy took the garrisons captive several hours prior to our troops' breakthrough, so that could not affect the operation in any way.
Muzhenko didn't say a word that during battles at neighboring strongpoints 'Zozo' and 'Zenit', occupied by soldiers from the same 40th battalion, three to seven tanks were destroyed, and the soldiers repulsed all of the enemy's attacks and retreated upon an order and in full swing.
He didn't mention that the 40th battalion was holding the frontline of eight kilometers long at the key direction, and held on to the last of the operation.
The only large-scale attempt to break through to those surrounded at 'Kopio' and 'Moisha' was made by our units on Feb. 13, but the enemy repulsed it. Other attempts were made by small groups and were insignificant.
The General Staff has dismissed the 40th battalion after Debaltseve and is now attempting to blame the soldiers of all accusations that should have been applied to the high military command.
They could have blown up all the ammunition, as it was done at one of strongholds long before, and exit without losses when they could have retreated. Could have taken their vehicles and driven away. But they were fulfilling their duty at their best. They believed they would not be abandoned.
The two strongpoints of the 40th battalion, unlike many other strongpoints, did not abandon their position and retreat. 13 soldiers died, two went missing after an IFV explosion, and 39 soldiers received wounds. That's the price for holding these shot-through spots of Ukrainian land on the map.
Why is Muzhenko lying about the 40th battalion? He needs scapegoats and he wants to stop witnesses' mouth, of those who had seen how 'Kopio' and 'Moisha' were abandoned encircled. The General Staff hopes that Poroshenko will forgive any meanness and lack of talent, as always, and are throwing mud at the heroes.
This is a story of those events by deputy commander of 'Kopio' strongpoint Yaroslav Kulyda from the article by Levko Stek:
"'Kopio' and 'Moisha' were like a balcony in our even defense, bulging forward to the east. On Feb. 7 we understood that we would be encircled from the north and from the south, for our flanks had been cut off. Eventually it all happened exactly the way we feared. Starting from Feb. 10, we were left without communication with 'the mainland,' and the major problem was that we had used the entire ammunition between Feb. 7 and 17. If we had more ammunition, we could have sat and waited for the illusive reinforcement. But on the 17th, commander of the battalion called us and said: guys, no one is coming for you. He ordered the strongpoint commander to save the guys by any possible means.
"I will be honest: I had some good sleep while in captivity. We all were like zombies. At the 'Kopio' I lived in a cement basement without heating, without anything. And they were shooting all the time. We all had concussions: you go, you puke, you take a painkiller, you take your automatic grenade launcher, put it at the position, and spray. That's how we were living during the last month.
- And now they say that abandoning your positions was one of the reasons we lost Debaltseve.
"That was our mistake: to hold that position until the end, like idiots. We should have retreated to our troops at the 'Katso' position on Feb. 9, while there were some paths, and we would have become heroes. But we were idiots holding the position until the end, executing the order. We have executed the order, got into captivity, and now we are being told that we are traitors.
"Many of the guys were drinking heavily after that. I returned home and was not myself. I keep asking myself - what was it all for?"
In the course of battles for 'Kopio' and 'Moisha' strongpoints, the following 11 soldiers of the 40th motorized infantry brigade and two soldiers of the 17th tank brigade died a heroic death, loyal to their oath to the people of Ukraine:
Soldiers who went missing upon IFV explosion:
They can only count on our memory and our fight for their honest name. They are not traitors, they are heroes.
This remembrance and respect are needed by their relatives and their children.
While traitors from the General Staff, who had devoted the heroes to destruction and are now killing the honest name of the soldiers from the 40th battalion, should be subjected to lasting shame.
Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET