Anti-Terrorist Operation Unit Vinettes
Eventually a coherent narrative of the the 2014 war bewteen Russia and Ukraine will be written, but that time is not yet. For various reasons, including operational security and the fog of battle, contemporaneous accounts do not present a coherent narrative. Most reporting is simply the daily grind of exchanges of fire between small un-named units. And most battalion level maneuvers are of un-named units. It is possible here and there to pick out brief vinettes of actions by named units, and a sample is gathered here
The First Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine departed to the eastern regions of the state for performing required tasks on 15 April 2014. It began to protect block posts around Slovyansk and Karachun Hill. The battalion’s motivation and will to defend the country raised morale among the various army detachments and police forces with which the volunteers defended the block posts. Nazar from Lviv, the ex-reserve officer and a reservist of the National Guard of Ukraine said that anyone who remains in the ranks, had been standing on the barricades for a long time, "but now it's time for long-distance barricade – bounders of our state to protect the integrity of Ukraine.
Donbas, the volunteer battalion of territorial defense of the Donetsk region, took control of the Velyka Novosilka district. This was disclosed 16 May 2014 by pro-Ukrainian battalion commander Semen Semenchenko. Semenchenko said they had also taken control of the local police department in a clash and the department employees took a new oath of allegiance to Ukraine "as a result of preventive work." The Donbas Special Battalion has taken control of parts of Ukraine's Donetsk region, the regional administration said on May 21. In the city and district of Dobropillya and the districts of Oleksandrivsk and Velyka Novosilka, the Donbas Special Battalion has taken full control of the administrative buildings and adjoining territory," the administration said in a statement.
The Ukrainian battalion "Aydar" was to be disbanded. On 23 June 2014 the soldiers of the battalion must left the area of the ATO. At the press conference the "Aydar" battalion commander Sergey Melnichuk said "Currently, we received an order to leave the positions and display unit area ATO, With the transfer of us in operational command of the group "South" and then disband. We must leave the area ATO today after the order to disband, which is signed by the defense Minister on 20 June". Melnichuk said he had already appealed to the President and the NSDC with the request to revise the order of the Minister of defense to disband and leave the battalion in the places of dislocation.
Commander of the Ukrainian battalion "Aydar" Sergey Melnichuk issued a statement which answered to the accusations of cowardice. The leadership of security operations conducted in the South-East of Ukraine, there are traitors, said the commander of the battalion "Aydar" Sergey Melnichuk in the Ukrainian TV on 24 June 2014. "I am confident that the leadership of the ATO is treason. Because the prisoners whom We captured, they are mocking and say: "We know each departure of your plane, each departure of your helicopter, We know all your orders. When there are bombing or other events, We just go with positions and then return. Is a complete discharge of information. The enemy knows everything," said Melnychuk.
In mid-july 2014 the 34th territorial battalion “Batkivshchyna” of the Resistance Movement received more than 600,000 UAH in military equipment, including 423 uniforms, 90 5-grade bulletproof vests and 40 radio transmitters. The bulletproof vests were tested with bullets from Kalashnikov rifles, machine guns and snipers. The soldiers said they decided to volunteer after Batkivshchyna Party leader announced the creation of the Resistance Movement. The battalion is 70% volunteers, who responded to Yulia Tymoshenko’s call to defend Ukraine by joining the Resistance Movement. The 421 members of the battalion came from all parts of Ukraine and range in age from 25 to 60. The battalion underwent two months of training is Kirovohrad and then relocated to Dnipropetrovsk to join the Anti-Terrorist Operation.
Ukrainian battalion of territorial defense "Aydar" returned from the East of Ukraine in Kyiv, to prevent dispersal of the Maidan. Despite the declared interest of the President Petro Poroshenko at the end of combat operations in the area of "special operations" by August 20, the leader of the Radical party of Ukraine Oleg Lyashko ordered under his control battalion "Aydar" promptly return to Kyiv in order to prevent dispersal of the Maidan. The arrival of "Aydar" in the capital was expected 7-8 August.
In the late summer Ukrainian security forces were surrounded at Ilovaisk, where they stayed a week, according to media reports, suffered losses as a result of the agreements, the security forces gradually emerged from this environment. However, Kiev did not know how many people the Ukrainian authorities lost in Transfer. One fighter said, units of the the surrounded "Donbass" battalion did not receive the support promised by the Ukrainian authorities. "I think that we are there simply abandoned to destruction. Every day we were waiting for help, waiting for equipment. We didn't have anything".
Lack of ammunition, food, fuel and clear orders from the command on how to act in the condition of encirclement has made the Ukrainian troops cross the border, Major Vitaly Dubinyak, a battalion commander, told Itar-Tass news agency 05 August 2014. “For two weeks, we were fighting back without ammunition and fuel. I didn’t have the opportunity to feed my men for almost two weeks. We even ran out of first strike ration. The personnel were more exhausted by despair than by the actual shelling,” Dubinyak said. “Other than giving us a command to ‘hold on,’ Kiev provided us with no other assistance. And during the last week, they’ve aborted all communication. They’ve simply given up on us,” he added. A total of 438 soldiers, including 164 Ukrainian border guards, were allowed into Russia.
A Russian court announced 09 August 2014 the arrest of five Ukrainian soldiers on suspicion of using prohibited means of warfare and shelling against civilians in eastern Ukraine. Battalion commander of Ukraine’s 72 Mechanized Brigade Ivan Voitenko, his deputy Vitaly Dubinyak, tank battalion commander Alexander Polyakov, battalion chief of staff Alexander Okhrimenko, and company commander Dmitry Ustilko, who crossed the Russian border together on August 3, were arrested upon a ruling by the Krasnosulinsky district court in Rostov, a southern region of Russia. More than 400 Ukrainian military personnel laid down their weapons in the eastern regions and crossed over into Russia on August 3, requesting refugee status.
On 02 September 2014 military of the 30th Detached Mechanized Brigade from Novohrad-Volynsky broke through from encirclement in the area of Lutuhine (Luhansk region), journalist Roman Bochkala wrote. “The 30th Brigade broke through from the encirclement in Lutuhine. It was hell. First Grad rocket launchers shelled the soldiers, which burnt all that was around. When moving, they were bombarded by aircraft - cluster bombs. Yes, yes - Russian planes are flying in the area of Luhansk already as at home. Then they ran into the Russian T-90. They were accompanied, of course, also by Russian helicopters Mi-24. And they got from them too... When they went on, as it seemed, a safe distance, they got Smerch. Our losses - 5 killed and 14 wounded,” the journalist wrote. According to him, even those, who are not injured, need psychological rehabilitation. "Most mobilized refuses to fight on. The second battalion, which got into this hell, needs rotation," Bochkala wrote.
The ‘Narodne Opolchennya Prykarpattya’ (NOP, ‘People’s Defence Units of Transcarpathia’), was an unofficial group, and not part of Ukrainian forces, newly-established in May-June 2014. In late summer, the Ukrainian media said that the 5th battalion "Prykarpattya" was in full on military equipment and weapons. Later the servicemen were held dialogues, in which they agreed to surrender heavy weapons, essentially refusing to part with small arms.
On 04 September 2014 a district court in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odessa has arrested the commander of the Prikarpatye battalion on charges of desertion for finking out of the combat operations zone in eastern Ukraine. Vitaly Komarov was taken into custody for a term of two months. The previous week, about 400 soldiers of the Prikarpatye battalion fled out of the zone of combat operations near the town of Ilovaisk. Armed soldiers and officers returned home, to the Ivano-Frankovsk region, by buses and military vehicles. Attempts were made to stop and disarm them in the Kirovograd region. Commander of Ukraine’s land troops Anatoly Pushnyakov arrived there for negotiations with the deserting servicemen, who refused to turn in their weapons and marched further on.
As soon as the battalion arrived in the Ivano-Frankovsk region, the command summoned Vitaly Komarov to Odessa, where he was detained by military prosecutors. A criminal case was opened against him of charges of evasion of military service and in-service dissidence. The man is facing ten years in prison. According to media reports, Komarov says the authorities are seeking to shift the responsibility for the army command’s defeats in eastern Ukraine onto him.
The regional Commissioner of Ivano-Frankivsk military Commissariat Ihor Pavlyuk said that the action of the soldiers of the battalion was not desertion." It was a forced change battle position," writes the Agency.
Men from all over Ukraine who were members of the Shakhtarsk battalion were involved in the antit-errorist operation in eastern Ukraine. As of 12 August 2013, the servicemen were based near Mariupol in the southern city of Donetsk region previously occupied by the separatists. Living conditions are not favorable as the soldiers rest in tents and sleeping bags. Every day, the fighters polish their skills and go on missions.
The 12th territorial defence battalion consisting of Kyiv residents set out of the Ukrainian capital for battle-torn eastern Ukraine 16 August 2014. Volunteers belong to different age groups who have military training. Three female medics are also part of the battalion. The soldiers provided themselves with necessary clothes, shoes and equipment.
Members of the police patrol task force battalion Kyivshchyna (Kyiv region) were seen off to the area of the antiterrorist operation on the proving ground of the police college of the Main Administration of the Interior Ministry in Kyiv region located in Khotianivka village, Vyshhorod district on 16 August 2014. Part of the personnel was on a ten days' leave after three month in eastern Ukraine. According to preliminary information, a Russian tank unit deployed in Ukraine has defected and joined the Ukrainian army, ‘Kyivshchyna’ 11th battalion "Kyivska Rus" announced on its website in Facebook Sept. 1.
The Donbas and Dnipro battalions, as well as other forces of the anti-terrorist operation, made another attempt on 18 August 2014 to gain control over the town of Ilovaisk in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. "Grad and Uragan systems, as well as armored hardware, were used against Ukrainian servicemen. Groups of the Donbas battalion that entered the town from ten different directions managed to access the town center, where the blue-and-yellow flag of the Ukrainian state is already flying," the Donbas battalion said on its Facebook account. Fighting continued in some parts of Ilovaisk last night. The Ukrainian army is not controlling the entire town. "The Donbas battalion has not suffered any losses," the report read.
Fighters of the Donbas, Dnipro, Azov and Shakhtarsk volunteer battalions initially took Ilovaisk on Aug. 19. But the town turned out to be a trap for them. The army of the self-proclaimed Donetsk’s People's Republic (DPR) on reported 25 August 2014 that 107 Ukrainian National Guard servicemen were killed and 75 wounded over the past 24 hours. DPR Militias said on August 24, that they had decided to change their tactic to full-scale operations by fully capable formations and units, providing them with necessary fire support. During the overnight fighting, the DPR army completely blocked a large grouping of Ukrainian military forces in six settlements - 5,000 servicemen from the Azov, Aidar and Dnieper battalions equipped with different types of hardware. By the morning, the DPR army had trapped at least 7,000 Ukrainian servicemen armed with about 120 tanks, over 380 armored vehicles and about 1,000 Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems.
Early on 29 August 2014, a column of some 70 Ukrainian armored vehicles rushed from Ilovaisk, a city in Donetsk Oblast, through a corridor offered by Russian troops. After driving 10 kilometers, the fleeing Ukrainians were instead trapped under massive shelling by cannons and tanks. The armored vehicles caught fire. “That was a real meat grinder,” Taras Samchuk, 28, soldier of 51th brigade told the Kyiv Post. The Ukrainian troops lost hundreds of their fighters, including at least 100 killed, with others wounded or captured.
On 01 Sepember 2014 at least 97 soldiers of "Donbas" battalion broke the siege near Ilovaisk, Donetsk region, Anton Heraschenko, advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister, wrote. He said the ongoing negotiations on the exchange of prisoners are underway. The battalion was being replenished by soldiers and heavy machinery. As the head of the Interior Ministry adviser Anton Heraschenko said, soldiers of the "Donbass" battalion will be presented to awards for the military action in Ilovaysk. Apart from fighters of Donbas, there were also fighters from Dnipro battalions and soldiers of the and 51th brigade and 92th brigade from Kharkiv
The situation in the Ilovaisk area remained very difficult and details will be disclosed after the operation, National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) spokesman Andriy Lysenko said. "The operation to remove a Ukrainian military unit from the encircled area continues. The details of this operation will not be disclosed until it is over," he told a briefing in Kyiv on September 1. "Everyone who made mistakes that led to grave consequences or committed crimes will be brought to account," Lysenko said. In the meantime, Serhiy Sobolev, leader of the Batkivschyna faction in parliament, said Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletei has been invited to a plenary session of the parliament on September 2 to report on the events at Ilovaisk. The Iloviask tragedy exposed many problems in this war, from the involvement of the Russian army to the lack of trust and coordination between the volunteer battalions and the army.
On 26 August 2014 a new brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine enforced by armored vehicles arrived for combat missions in the ATO area. Part of this technique was presented to the Ukrainians at the Ukrainian Independence Day parade. By 27 August 2014 Novoazovsk-Mariupol road was under Ukrainian. Mobile mixed groups of soldiers, policemen and guards set up posts on the most dangerous routes of the probable enemy movement in the area of Mariupol. The town of Novoazovsk was shelled both from the Russian territory and from the occupied positions on the Ukrainian territory. Military units around Mariupol were strengthened by additional forces. The 1-st Operational Brigade of the National Guard arrived, equipped with the new military hardware, which made the march in the area ATO after events dedicated to the Independence Day. Military enhance fortification lines.
On August 27, 2014 the 5 BTrO MAT "Carpathian" battalion, after the 24 August Ilovajskij encouenter, almost at full strength (except for 20 people), willfully left their fighting positions and went to rest and resupply to the place of permanent deployment in Delyatyn. The escape battalion meant that advanced Ukrainian troops were left without the covered rear. On this fact the military procurator opened criminal proceedings under Part 3 of Art. UCU 409. The rest of the battalion, who refused to flee from the area of ATO, planned to continue their service in other battalions. On September 4th the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Vitaly Komar, was detained and military prosecutors began pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings.
Soldiers of the 92nd Mechanised Brigade defended their commander from the accusations in early September 2014 of the military chiefs of the loss of military equipment. The soldiers say that the commander saved their lives, reports TSN. Neither social media nor generals speak of shelling of the 92nd Mechanised Brigade, which got ambushed in Komsomolske near Volnovaha and came under fire of «Grads». The commander gave an order to the personnel to leave the equipment and save themselves. More than 200 soldiers managed to escape the shelling. 16 of them were wounded and were later hospitalised. Around 20 APCs and tanks burned form the artillery fire.
On 04 September 2014 the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine hosted a meeting between representatives of the Defence Ministry and the initiative group volunteer units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] of Ukraine. In particular, representatives of the battalions of Donbass», «Dnepr-1» and «Azov» expressed a desire to be transferred to the ranks of the armed forces of Ukraine. According to Adviser to the Defense Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Danylyuk, given the challenges now facing our country, joining fighters of the volunteer battalions joined the Ukrainian army will be implemented in the shortest possible time.
"We are talking about a matter of days, as units of MIA with experience fighting in the East of Ukraine have high morale and readiness to defend Ukraine. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of their tasks and functions are somewhat limited, and they do not have at their disposal appropriate weapons and equipment." With the transition of the volunteer battalions to the armed forces of Ukraine, they will get and use heavy weapons and equipment.
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) information and analytical center spokesman Andriy Lysenko said 04 September 2014. "According to official figures, as of September 4, 837 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 3,044 injured over the entire period of the ATO," he said [not taking into account loss of life during the withdrawal from the encirclement near Ilovaisk].
About 2,000 Russian servicemen had been killed so far in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on 05 September 2014, citing intelligence data. It was not possible to independently confirm the figure. Information about Russian military, who were wounded, killed or got missing in Ukraine are collected on the website lostvian.ru.
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