Debaltseve, February 2015. Photo from open sources
“Survived in Debaltsevo is only because my fear had managed to rein in,” says the former fighter battalion “Kryvbas” Callsign “Small” 23-year-old Konstantin Bondarenko.
Born June 8, 1994 in the city of Dniprodzerzhynsk (with 2016 – monay. -Gazeta.ua) in Dnipropetrovsk region. He graduated from there professional lycée №2. For two years he worked at a metallurgical plant fitter. In March 2014 went off to war.
Did not go to the Maidan. When the war started, with a friend who is also against the Maidan, went to war. Of those who went, nobody went, – he says. – Say, have someone to fight. Thought, then who will protect Ukraine?
Were not scared?
Know that the enemy is on our land. We have been trained. To check out the ATO’s parents didn’t know what to fight. Mom then backed. 2 Jun 2014 we have thrown at the border with the Rostov region of Russia. Lived in the woods. On 8 June, the day of birth, for themselves dug the trench. After two weeks was in Starobeshevo, Amvrosiyivka. A month at a checkpoint between Starobeshevo and Komsomolsk (2016 – Kalmiuska. -Gazeta.ua). Detained there the commander of the Donetsk “Berkut” and assistant Girkin. They were driving on the highway. Wanted to pay off a carton of cigarettes. One of the pocket pistol had the sleeve. Then they released the “top”.
Time on our mobile checkpoint was attacked by three cars with Kadyrov. In battle he was seriously wounded commanders of a platoon and two offices. Kadyrov’s men killed them all. Although the car was armored. From sniper rifles fired into the windshield. Went to the car to pull out. One, still alive, pulled out a grenade. The commander of the “Bear” saw it and fell on him. Save others.
In early August, began the active fighting under Ilovaiskaya.
It was a period of loss and pain. Died best friend from a bullet in the neck. Lived in the same house, went along to war. Going in September to get married. A month and a half did not survive. Then for the first time felt the fear of death. Short rotation, training in the Lviv region. Got a new profession: the driver of an armored vehicle intelligence. In war, it is a cardboard box.
22 Dec was in Artemivsk (2006 – Bahmut. – Gazeta.ua). The same night, said to go to Debaltsevo. Refused, because without weapons, in civilian clothes. The next day left. Replaced more than 700 soldiers of the battalion “Kievan Rus” of the 25th brigade. We were up to 300 and 17-mile area of responsibility – from Chernukhino to Novohryhorivka in Luhansk. I realized we were in trouble. Raised a fuss. The high command has assured that the help will be. Believe it.
The connection was bad. Ran into a battalion “Artemovsk”. They stood, beaten by despair, around the tanks, pulling the helmet on the eyes. They have thrown.
How does it affect fighters?
In the 20 days of January we started to fire. “Grad”, “Hurricane”, mortars. We took the hangars. All flew from different sides. The Russians adjusted the fire in Morse code. We deblocked them, because she was beaten by. However, beat with the other hand. The guys gave the coordinates of the points in the enemy headquarters. They said that firing from positions 128 brigade. Such was the chaos.
What was done to change the situation?
Spoke with command and they promised reinforcements. At the end of the 17th brigade gave 40 contractors and three tanks. One worked. The second just went. Dragged third, only shot. The crew of the first tank made it impossible to get us more survived. Could fly in the midst of battle and beat the Russians. The commander was almost a grandfather. But he did! Active, energetic. Saw their death. 120-mm mortar hit the tank. The guys ran to extinguish the flames, and there exploded munitions. The crew was killed and many of those who pulled him out.
When it became clear that salvation is not?
10 February 2015 Russians seized our position on the right. Said to give up. The commanders refused. But the optimism has decreased. Hundreds of soldiers were captured. There was no escape. The others retreated from the battle. Took away hundreds of lives of Russians. Yuri Bracharia of “Kryvbas” with fellow knocked out six tanks. On anti-aircraft guns pierced the armor and active from the grenade finished off.
When you are out?
18 February 2015. We left 70. Half went to one of the surviving machines. The driver did not want to come back for another. Brother threats and obscenities made. How was the position blew up all the ammo. The explosion was mega. The dome was dozens of tons lifted into the air and flipped several times.
The boiler could not be?
We received information that the Russians are planning to attack our beachhead in late January. Under Uglegorsk went to the Novogrigoryevka over the railroad depot. We went there two units to clean them. One went to the village. Another where I was not able to find a spot even on the edge. We covered Arta. Lay under the fence. And then three cars of VSP (a paramilitary patrol. – Gazeta.ua). Shouting to them to lay down. As a senior: “I am the commandant of debaltseve. We have the signal about the robbery”. We have moved away. Saw the bridge, and there – the National guard with tanks. Say, cover. Declined: you do not have order. If you were able to go to the village and to gain a foothold, there would be thousands of deaths.
The advance continued on all fronts. The Russians came in Debaltsevo. At the command post Romashka captured prisoners. We rushed them to release a barrage. They climbed thousands. We were shooting and could not interrupt. Went to full height, as if drugged. One in the tank 200 meters away from us got out, took off his pants and showed intimate places. It was the last thing done in life.
From the city came the convoy that came under shelling.
Yeah. Appointed place of gathering. Amazed how many men out there. Many thousands. They stood? There were moments when any strengthening would have won the fight. Went in three columns. The morning began in the field. We fired, I started to panic, all scattered. I and a few soldiers stayed in the village. Had simple cars and BRDM (fighting reconnaissance landing machine Gazeta.ua). The Russians from a grenade hit it. I decided to walk. Again panic. Like a fool I started to shoot the Russian side. Next was “African”. Was Iraq, so all soberly assessed. Said to follow him. I met another soldier from the platoon, the chief of staff. Our tanks were driving and did not shoot. They say, dropped the shells in order to move faster. Did not know that the ammunition does not.
Five of us left. Spent a couple of hours and moved on. I’ve almost reached Logvinova. There is a box on both sides – the Russians. After 17 years as it grew dark, crawled. The First Is “African”. Filmed stretching, pulled out of the mines. We slipped in between the posts of Russians 150 metres from each other. Field went their tanks to the side of our column. Ran 5 meters behind him. It was the heat and smoke, so the imager can’t see us. At one of the intersections at Trinity Russians turned left and we right, on some cottages. Knocked the door to one and spent the night. Dined branches from the trees and melted snow. In the morning on the fence saw painted our flag. It was happiness – their own!
19 Feb at 7 am out of the environment. Called my mom. Two weeks didn’t know that with my son. In Artemovsk with sister got in a taxi and went home. I do not remember how many people killed in debaltseve, calls our government. But killed not hundreds, but thousands.
44-year-old Alexander Motril – military personnel, retired Colonel and battalion commander ditoriale defense “Kryvbas” had earlier said that the full rassledovaniya tragedy near Ilovaysk and debaltseve and never will.