The 40th Separate Mechanized Battalion replaced Kyivska Rus Battalion in Debaltseve Dec. 22 regardless of the fact that the detachment was manned only by half - 300 soldiers arrived instead of 600. They stretched along the 12 km-long section of the front.
Yurii Brekharia described the fiercest combats that took place near 'Zenit' strong point Feb. 7-9, 2015.
The Ukrainian servicemen were armed with Soviet-era 'Fagot' anti-tank guided missiles and IFV-mounted 'Grom' guns, which were useless against advanced tanks with active armor.
"Since the guys were in the zone, they offered quite a suicidal solution: "Sir, let us destroy the active armor with anti-aircraft gun and only after that employ missiles against a tank." The soldiers operating anti-aircraft guns were actually not covered. That is, it was a real act of valor, since the guys realized that they would fight against tanks with their bare hands. They realized that they would be not just giving their positions away, but inviting enemy retaliation fire by a huge torch," the officer said.
The Ukrainian soldiers survived that encounter having destroyed three of the four enemy tanks.
Brekharia also told about troops' withdrawal from Debaltseve. According to him, it was taking place completely without communication: "When we were withdrawing, we had no idea whether anyone from our battalion survived."