A surrendered soldier of the Ukrainian brigade stationed in Melitopol said that his comrades-in-arms, who claimed that they were “very seriously prepared and ready to fight back the enemy,” when confronted by the Russian troops, were the first to run away, after having changed into civilian clothes.
Video of the interrogation of Ukrainian soldier Oleg Ignatov was released by Russia’s FSB. Ignatov is a former contract serviceman with the 25th Transport Aviation Brigade of Ukrainian troops (unit A3840) in Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia region). He himself came from the territory of Ukraine to the Crimean checkpoint of Dzhankoy.
Ignatov confirmed that his unit had men serving in the military operation in Donbas that Kiev had launched. “There were sergeants who were also in the Ilovaysk cauldron, and in some other combat operations,” Ignatov said.
“They told me that they were very seriously trained and ready to fight back against the enemy. But the first time (Russian troops) attacked, they were the first to change into ‘civilian clothes’ and run away,” Ignatov added.
Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24. President Vladimir Putin called its goal “to protect people who have been subjected to abuse, genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. To this end, he said, it was planned to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine,” to put on trial all war criminals responsible for “bloody crimes against civilians” in Donbas.
According to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, the Armed Forces are striking only military infrastructure and Ukrainian troops. With the support of the RF Armed Forces, the DPR and LPR groups are developing an offensive, but there is no question of occupying Ukraine, the Russian president stressed.
At the end of August 2014, Ukrainian battalions were encircled near Ilovaysk in the Donetsk region, where they suffered serious losses in battles with the militia. According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Ilovaysk cauldron, 429 were wounded to varying degrees of severity, 300 were taken prisoner, and the Ukrainian army’s losses in weapons and military equipment totaled 300 million hryvnias ($11.6 million).
In January and February 2015, the epicenter of the confrontation in Donbas was the town of Debaltsevo, where Ukrainian security forces were surrounded by the militia. “The Debaltsevo cauldron became the scene of brutal fighting.