The Ukrainian operation to re-capture Lohvynove village failed due to lack of well-trained reserves, protected communications and coordination. But Ukrainian tankists showed great combat capabilities in deterring Russian army.
Memories about first days after combined Russian-separatist forces cut the M-03 route near Debaltseve.
With the fall of Vuhlegirsk our western flank developed a dangerous hole. The situation was critical because no Ukrainian positions now remained to safeguard M-03, while the terrain permitted enemy forces to advance unseen.
There is a saying in the army: it is more important who your commander is, than in what detachment you serve.
The first Russian offensives at Debaltseve were similar to those made by the Soviet General Georgi Zhukov or the German Nazi General Heinz Guderian in the twentieth century: that is to say, they concentrated as many troops as possible and threw them all into the assault.
Not everyone in our convoy was lucky. According to official figures, nineteen Ukrainian servicemen in the convoy were killed and 135 were wounded. A dozen of our battalion’s servicemen were wounded, and ninety-four were captured by Russian “kazacks” (but released four days later).
No one among 128 Brigade’s officers was actually happy to see more troops from 40 Battalion, and they could not say where our comrades were hiding.
Our GAZ truck, manufactured in Moscow, had no windows, so the biting-cold wind blew in our faces. But we drove calmly – Kalashnikovs, machine-guns and grenade launchers at the ready.
In this way I realized for the first time in my life that war consists not only of heroism, but also shameful cases of fear, panic and betrayal.
And none of us followed the enemy ultimatum to lay down our arms. In addition, one of our officers sent this Russian on his way with a clear, unmistakable message in the Russian criminal jargon.