… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s note: This could be a tipping point here folks. Nothing kills the morale of an army more than not being resupplied for days and days, when you are supposed to have superiority and freedom of movement on exterior lines.
That the self-defense forces could hold down a 400-man armored unit like this while they depleted their supplies, and with the rebels being pressured on their main fronts, is one hell of a maneuver. It is not something an ad hoc group of resistors could ever pull off.
We may never know the reason for the failure. Were there no reserves available to support cut-off Kiev units, or were there no supplies?
And if there were, was a hard decision made to save them for the Donetsk planned offensive? Either way, the rebels have this unit’s 60 vehicles to resist the next assault, as long as they don’t have fuel and ammo issues themselves.
With past surrenders, the Russians have given the soldiers the choice of temporary asylum or heading back to Ukraine. Treatment of all those crossing over has been red carpet, as the Russians and the rebels know the Ukraine troops are being sorely used and want to encourage anyone wanting to pull out of the fighting to do so.
Will some go over into the rebel rank? Certainly some will, but those with families would be in a hostage situation. Their meager pay could be cut off. But that said, some unidentified group might quietly set up a system to take care of families in that situation.
Like George Washington won by not letting the British defeat his army, the rebels theoretically have a similar opportunity. But Washington had freedom of movement to stay away from fighting when not advantageous. The rebels are somewhat pinned down to defend their strongholds. If they had not had the captured armories to supply them, they would probably have been toast by now.
To see the US involved in supporting the crushing of brave people like this makes me ashamed of my country’s choice of affiliation. We are on the wrong side once again, and I have seen the Pentagon brass going along with getting us into another lose-lose situation, after all the others we have been in. They are supposed to be smart enough to know better. Now I have to wonder, and I am not a happy cowboy… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published August 5, 2014 –
The command in Kiev has blatantly abandoned a group of more than 400 soldiers encircled by the self-defense forces, the senior Ukrainian officer who requested sanctuary in Russia with his men has revealed.
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.
“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 on Sunday night.
The troops have been housed in a tent camp deployed near the checkpoint via which they entered Russian territory.
“In order to save the people, the commanders of units have made a decision to cross the border with Russia. All the equipment and weaponry had to be left on the Ukrainian side. The main thing was to save the people,” the commander stressed.
‘This civil war must be stopped’
Dubinyak said that he was surprised by “almost brotherly” treatment his men had received from Russian colleagues.
“Those, who give order to us are lying that we are in war with Russia. None of the Russian’s even gave a wry look. They understand that we are hostages in this troubled situation,” he said.
“A medical check-up was organized for us here. The wounded received assistance. We were fed. We showered for the first time in a month. We were given clothes, with conditions required for recreation created for us,” the commanded added.
According to Dubinyak, his men went through “a meat grinder” and they won’t return to battle again.
He urged the decision makers in Kiev to “fight on their own and send their own children to die.”
The commander also admitted that the fighting in south-eastern Ukraine has turned into a full-scale civil war.
“I don’t know how I’ll look into the eyes of the mothers of those of my boys, who died. But I know for sure that this civil war must be stopped. I’ve seen enough tears of the locals and enough suffering of my men. I’m sick of it. The main thing is that we’re alive. We’ll deal with the rest after we get home,” Dubinyak concluded.