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We were ordered to do it: revelations of Ukrainian prisoners of war

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Ukrainian servicemen continue to surrender. The wounded are first sent to hospitals, the rest, temporarily, to special institutions. About the conditions in which they live and what they say – in the report of RIA Novosti.

Viktor Vorobyov laid down his arms on March 25. He is 23 years old, originally from the village of Zaikovka, Luhansk region. Twice signed a contract, so he decided to earn. The family is having financial difficulties. For service in the war zone on the first line, he was paid more than 33 thousand hryvnias (€1144) per month. He ended up in the 53rd brigade of the second battalion of the reconnaissance platoon. In December 2021, they were sent to Volnovakha. The headquarters was in the city behind the bus station.

‘They didn’t bring us up to date. We just carried out our tasks. Namely, we collected information about the enemy. We found out what brigades were, who was the commander, what staff, what they were armed with,’ Victor lists. trenches. We received data, including from the locals, and the commanders agreed. For money. ‘

At the end of February, Vorobyov and his colleagues were at Novognatovka. Part of the military remained in the village. During the retreat, the battalion commander ordered to open fire on them. ’They beat the shit out of their own, even on civilians. The chief explained this by saying that the army of the DPR was approaching: ‘But we will destroy a lot of people and equipment,’ Victor lowers his eyes at these words.

The battalion suffered heavy losses. The commander promised to evacuate the soldiers to the Dnieper, and from there to the headquarters in the Dnepropetrovsk region. ’In fact, we were kept for a couple of days in the city, and then returned, in fact, by deception back. Moreover, they dropped us off right in the centre of Volnovakha at the police station,’ says the prisoner. The reason is simple: a settlement is considered under control as long as the administrative building is occupied.

‘They didn’t dig in the field, because they would immediately cover us with artillery. It was believed that it’s easier in the city, a retaliatory strike doesn’t always come,’ Victor explains the tactics.’

Replenished, the battalion mobilized without experience. Bulletproof vests without protective plates, no helmets, machine gun with two magazines. And to the front. ‘Three thousand people were sent to us. When we retreated from Volnovakha, only six hundred remained.’

They retreated to the village of Nikolskoye. The bridge was blown up by sappers. We were placed in the school, nowhere else. The battalion commander assured the fighters that the republican forces would definitely not pass here.

‘The DNR broke through the defences from the left flank. A battle ensued. We had NLAW, which no one knew how to use. We couldn’t launch the Javelin. As a result, we ran with RPGs and flies,’ Vorobyov throws up his hands.

The survivors, about 200 people, began to withdraw. But the next day, another 400 fighters were sent to the battalion with orders to storm.

‘We were indignant. We have neither equipment nor ammunition. What kind of offensive can we talk about?’ Victor decided to leave, realizing that for this in Ukraine he faces up to 25 years in prison. ’I don’t want to fight. It doesn’t cost any money.’

Senior Lieutenant Yuri Zakopets with the call sign Kalina was captured on May 8. He commanded a platoon of the 24th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and fought in the national battalion ‘Donbass’.

He was in good standing with the leadership, he was awarded the Ukrainian Order ‘For Courage’ III degree and the medal ‘Defender of the Fatherland’. He spoke at a solemn meeting in the Verkhovna Rada on the occasion of Constitution Day. Although he assures us that he did not aspire up the career ladder. ‘The upside is that I could take a vacation at any time and be with my family, which is not allowed for those who rank higher,’ he says.

At the end of February, he was in the city of Zolote, then he was sent to the border guards in Krasny Liman to defend checkpoints. ‘We stood under the city. They occupied abandoned gas stations, dug dugouts and trenches.’

In April, when the situation escalated, the task was set: to take the mobilized to the front line. ‘They are not trained. Without helmets, bulletproof vests. They issued a machine gun, four horns, an old Soviet pouch, and go ahead. The guys are morally depressed, they were sent to posts, and then suddenly, like cannon fodder, they decided to throw them to certain death.’

Yuri refused to obey the order. He was removed from command and transferred to a battalion that was stationed near Popasna. ’There were powerful battles. I understood that this was a one-way ticket,’ the senior lieutenant continues.

I managed to go on vacation for 15 days,- I tried to transfer as a teacher at the Academy of the Ground Forces. Refused. He returned to the front in early May.

‘I hoped that our brigade would be withdrawn. There were huge losses in Popasna. But no one was going to do this,’ Zakopets continues. ‘What is the word of an officer worth if the brigade commander received the star of the Hero of Ukraine. and almost 20 missing. That is, 70 per cent of the personnel were missing. Moreover, no more than 30 per cent are officially allowed.’

To make up for the losses, they sent people from the territorial defence (TRO). On May 8, Yuriy was sent to Kamyshevakha in the Popasnaya area in order to place border guards there. Although the scouts did not inspect the area, the battalion commander assured: ‘There are friendly people there.’

He does not complain about conditions in captivity. ‘On the contrary, I was surprised by the attitude. I expected a completely different thing. They don’t beat, they don’t bully, and they feed well. I want to tell my colleagues: trust the TV less, think with your head. And don’t forget about the family, thoughts about relatives can save lives,’ says Yuri. ‘There is a lot of support at the moment. And we are ready to testify at the tribunal against the crimes of the (Ukrainian) military high command.’

Hope to return home. While it is too early to talk about it, he is still under close observation. A criminal case was opened against some of his colleagues from the 24th brigade under the first part of Article 356 of the Criminal Code (ill-treatment of the civilian population, the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare in an armed conflict). According to the Investigative Committee, from June 11 to June 12, four of them fired on civilian objects with heavy weapons.

The brothers Dmitry and Yuri Tverdokhleb, a taxi driver and builder, were mobilized on March 5. I was assigned to the National Guard (part 3036). The commander assured them that their task was to stand at checkpoints in the Dnepropetrovsk region.

‘We took the so-called course of a young fighter for a month. They didn’t really teach anything. They gave us ten rounds to shoot in our hands. They explained how to disassemble the machine gun. That’s all. We weren’t ready for battle. Dmitriy: ‘But there’s more than enough of it, patriotic speeches. Everyone told how we fought valiantly.’

After they were taken to the Donetsk region. And from there in the middle of the night on the ‘Cossack’ (BTR) to Rubizhne. ‘We didn’t understand who was driving. Two more were sent with us, a father and son. On the spot, we were met by a man who introduced himself as the main one in the position, with the words ‘welcome to hell.’ garage. He ordered me to take turns on duty upstairs. And then he just left, ‘Yuri recalls.

We received no orders or instructions. Dry rations were not issued. There was only what we managed to buy the day before: a couple of eggplants with water, two cans of stew, and a few pâtés. The commanders did not get in touch, it is not clear what to do.

‘The zeros were sent straight to the front. From the equipment, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, with four horns to it. And that’s it. They just left it to the mercy of fate,’ Yuri adds. By that time, fighting had begun on the outskirts of the city.

On the very first day, April 7, they hid in the basement, they couldn’t go upstairs, artillery was working. They were quickly surrounded, there was no one to wait for help. The brothers, along with their colleagues, surrendered.

‘We were welcomed, given a smoke, and shared rations. I didn’t expect this,’ Yuri admits. ‘Our lads are dying for nothing. For someone’s ambitions. Families lose their breadwinners, cities are destroyed. Dmitry and Yuri are in a secure place. We only saw each other a couple of times during that time. They wave it off: ‘But it’s safe.’

Contractor Aleksey Bendas, like the brothers Tverdokhleb, was also sent to the front line, although they promised to keep him in the rear. Served in the National Guard (part 3018). ‘Me and six others were brought to positions near Stakhanov at the end of February. We didn’t understand any instructions on what to do,’ says a twenty-year-old guy. ‘When the tanks moved towards us, they rushed into the forest.

After a couple of days, they were taken to Lisichansk. They promised that they would return home, but as a result, they transferred me to Rubizhnoye at night. ‘We were surrounded, hiding in the basement. We unanimously decided to surrender. I personally do not regret it at all. In this situation, this is the only option,’ the fighter emphasizes.

The Commissioner for Human Rights in the LPR, Victoria Serdyukova, assures that the conditions of detention of prisoners ‘are in line with the principles and norms of international humanitarian law.’ They are provided with all necessary assistance, including medical care. Those who committed war crimes will be tried under criminal articles. The rest will be exchanged.

One of the last major exchanges took place on June 29 – 144 to 144. ‘I saw some. They talked about inhuman conditions. They were subjected to moral and psychological pressure, physical, they arrived with fractures, hematomas, stab wounds,’ Serdyukova lists. they even managed to convict for some far-fetched motives. No process, the verdict was read remotely. And in the end, they warned that next time ‘they won’t be taken alive’, they say, they will become ‘missing’.

The authorities of the LDNR are calling on the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to lay down their arms, there are instructions on social networks on how to legally leave positions, and avoiding criminal prosecution at home. It is recommended to record a video explaining why it is impossible to fulfil the order of the command.

‘When leaving the combat area, keep your personal weapons without fastening magazines. Leave heavy weapons,’ the official channel of the NM LPR says.

And they add: when meeting with units of the armies of Russia, the DPR and the LPR, you must raise your hands up, and demonstrate a white cloth. This is what the servicemen of the 115th and 56th brigades and the National Battalion from Azovstal have already done. The Republican military has less and fewer doubts that others will soon follow their example. Source

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