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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Why did 6 paratroopers get killed near Kramatorsk?

Expert: “Soldiers do not yet fully understand that they are at war”
15 May, 2014 - 11:52
MAY 14, 2014. KRAMATORSK / REUTERS photo

Terrorists fired from an ambush on a military convoy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Kramatorsk on May 13. Militants made extensive preparations for the attack which used emplacements established in advance, grenade launchers as well as concentrated and accurate small arms fire.

“Over 30 attackers had arrived in advance and taken positions along the river in the bushes. The first shot from the terrorists’ grenade launcher hit the engine of the second BTR APC that approached the bridge, causing an explosion. Another BTR tried to push the damaged fighting vehicle that was on fire forward and away from the village. The soldiers joined the fight,” website of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine states.

According to the ministry, six paratroopers died, and nine soldiers were injured and shell-shocked, with one of them dying en route to the hospital. After inspection of the battlefield, experts found that the terrorists also suffered some losses, evidenced by the large amount of blood and remnants of ballistic vests found on their abandoned positions.

Coordinator of the group Information Resistance Dmytro Tymchuk called May 13 “the black day in the history of the Ukrainian armed forces and the entire country.” On his Facebook page, Tymchuk said: “Our boys were not killed in an open battle, as pro-Russian dogs are far too cowardly for such engagements. The Kremlin-directed terrorists can only fight by stealth, from behind, using ambushes or even human shields. Vile and disgusting is the only way they know. This is their essence. Still, there are hard questions to be asked of our command in the field. Why elementary combat security measures were not taken in the anti-terrorist operation area? Why had our intelligence and covering forces failed to do their job? We still have no answers to these questions.”

The Day turned to a man who had served for 23 years in the Internal Troops of Ukraine, including in Donetsk region, asking him to share his vision of the situation with our readers. The man, a retired colonel, told us on condition of anonymity what weaknesses he saw in the Ukrainian army:

“First and foremost, the local people knew in advance about the ambush, and warned nobody. They are on the side of these bastards who are now called terrorists and separatists. I visited Sloviansk in early May and realized that this movement is gaining more and more momentum. People are starting to think that the extremists are really fighting for them, most people do not give a real thought to the situation and are just afraid, while the militants are supported by a considerable part of the population. Russian propaganda was able to draw parallels between the virtual Banderites and the real-life Ukrainian military and National Guard.

The second cause of our problems is the fact that our soldiers, from the top leadership to enlisted men, still do not fully understand that eastern Ukraine is at war. People who rush to our BMP AFVs and prevent soldiers from doing their job are not civilians. These people have been brain-washed by propaganda, provoked, perhaps bribed, but if they interfere with the military’s actions, they are the enemy. This understanding will gradually come to our soldiers.

The Kramatorsk situation has highlighted a lack of interaction between various security forces. They had to conduct intelligence work, be aware of this paratrooper convoy and inform the ministry of defense that some strange movements were occurring on its route. They had missed it all or betrayed the country. It says everything about the level of the officer corps, after 23 years of moral decay in the army. Another question is why paratroopers were moving on their own? Convoy has to send out reconnaissance units in wartime. Had it been done, our losses would perhaps be not as noticeable.

Most likely, it was an ambush laid by Russian commandos in Kramatorsk. I saw them in Sloviansk. There are not many of them, they wear balaclavas and masks, stand out of the crowd by their bearing, have professional equipment, and do not get showy with their weapons. The next step of the terrorists could be mining the roads, it is called the sabotage guerrilla war. The Russians went through all of it in Chechnya, and are now applying their experience here.

Our security services must conduct intelligence work. There are always people who have seen something or know something. Look at this ambush near Kramatorsk: 20 to 30 people came, dug trenches, prepared emplacements – it took them at least two days – someone had to see it! What happened on May 13 will provide us with combat experience, moral and psychological preparation. The Armed Forces of Ukraine were not just being demoralized for 23 years but had never fought a war, too. It is sad, but the nature of combat experience is that it is paid for in blood.”

By Maria PROKOPENKO, Donetsk