UKRAINE SHOULD FORGET ABOUT ME
Former Ukrainian Soldier (S), who took part in so-called ATO agreed for an interview with our reporter to tell about the reverse side of the war.
S: Call me Yuras, that’s how they called me in the army. I am now going to leave for Russia in order to get a job according to my profession at one of the factories there. In Ukraine I worked as a 6th grade fitter at an enterprise related to defense. When this damned war started, instead of reserving the highly qualified workers the draft committees started calling us. There were no volunteers among the factory workers. That’s why they started calling us to the factory personnel department trying to persuade us, and after that they simply made us go. Then they started catching people right at the factory entrance sending them to the enlistment offices straight away. So I failed to avoid this, and was not smart enough to leave earlier. That’s how I became a member of one of the military units formed in Dnepropetrovsk region.
Q: So what memories do you have about the service?
S: This can be hardly called service. This is humiliation of people and common sense. They made us live in tents. The whole training program included only marches and shooting at the range. It even took them some time to give weapons to us. The food was poor – grains, fish in swollen cans, condensed milk. Later we got some Polish and American MRE’s, but that was not on a regular basis. Many of the people had to wear their civilian clothing for a long time. Others, including me, receiver military uniform.
Our unit was stationed together with the national guards. I actually noticed myself, and hear others say that no army unit was stationed alone. It would always be either accompanied by the cops from the national guards or the mercenaries from territorial battalions. They act both as retreat-blocking regiments and as security department. They were also the ones getting all the “goodies”. Sometimes our soldiers would be provided uniform, bulletproof vests and packs of food. Then this would be shown to journalists from Kiev, who would make interviews, but after that everything had to be given back to the commanders or the territorial battalions. It was all about fake show. Swinish attitude to us did not change, when we went to the combat zone. They were treating us as cannon fodder. Anyone, who tried to speak up or refused to obey absurd orders would either be arrested or executed. I once witnessed such execution myself.
Q: And you never stood up for your mates?
S: How can you stand up? We were even afraid to be frank with each other, leave alone get organized about anything. Some people could snitch on you out of cowardice, some would do this because of men nature.
Q: have you seen any foreign mercenaries?
S: Mostly I have come across Poles. I also female snipers from some Baltic country, I think they were from Latvia. But strangely enough, they spoke good Russian with no accent. One of them got killed by a booby trap, I don’t know what happened to the other one.
Q: Have you witnessed any lynching of prisoners?
S: I have heard about this, but never saw this myself. We were usually deployed in the field – we were not allowed to go into residential areas. I saw how captured militiamen were convoyed. All of them had bruises and blood stains.
Q: When did you decide to surrender?
S: When we were deployed near Volnovakha, not far from a small village. I braced myself and spoke to one of the locals. He showed me the way to the militia positions. I dropped my rifle and went to surrender unarmed.
Q: How did they treat you?
S: They punched me a couple of times in the heat of the moment, but after that they never beat me again. They kept me in a semi-destroyed house for a couple of days, but they gave me a matrass and a blanket. They fed me the same food they ate. Then they took me to Donetsk, where I and other prisoners were shown ruins of buildings and the city morgue, where torn apart bodies were kept. I never saw such horror even at the front line. After that I decided to never come back to Ukraine. I do not exist either as a soldier or a citizen for Ukraine. Kiev should forget about me.