August 17, 2015
Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski
Roman Chernyshev for ИА ЛIГАБiзнесIнформ
“On the blood of their soldiers”
Roman Chernyshev, a Ukrainian journalist for the information agency “LigaBusinessInform” conducted an interview with two officers who at different times were dismissed after voluntary service in one of the special battalions in the ATO zone.
Ilya is a career war psychologist and Sergey is a spetsnaz officer who for objective reasons wished to be presented in this text under a pseudonym. However, there is no doubt as to his qualifications and combat experience. Their tales of the war differ radically from the official reports and posts by politicians, bureaucrats, and various advisers on different social networks.
The text does not mention the names of parties, geographical points or unfortunate heroes which were mentioned in the interview with the officers. However, to the reader interested in the situation, it won’t be difficult to find out and figure out everything from the context…
This is an assessment by military personnel with combat experience in Donbass. (The text is abridged, with Ukro-nationalist-toxic passages omitted).
“The battalion was formed under sponsor patronage”
Q.: What were you doing in the ATO and what positions did you have?
Sergey: I was that guy who stood at the source of one of the special battalions of the interior ministry. I was the deputy commander for combat training, but I did everything – formed and trained – because the battalion commander dodged. Everyday he would reply: “I’m in command.” But as they dropped him off at the ATO zone, he was in a drunken tailspin for two weeks…medicated and then taken out of this state. The battalion commanders largely have party sponsors, like the one we have, and they assigned him to us for an eye. The leader of the party liked him, so they simply showed him and brought him in and that’s it – fight.
Ilya: I was a psychologist-officer in the same division.
Q.: Before this, did you have war experience?
Sergey: Participation in war? Of course not. With whom had Ukraine fought before this? We had the experience of many years of training, participation in special operations, and work in the regions of increased military danger.
Ilya: I had no combat experience or special training. I’m a career officer – a psychologist who served in the air force.
Q.: Tell us about the battalion
Sergey: The battalion was formed under the sponsored patronage of a certain political force. At first we thought that it represented something, a kind of patriotic start. Although even then we suspected that, in fact, it was an aid to the party, above all a PR project.
Q.: And how did you end up in the battalion?
Sergey: Around the end of May and the start of June, 2014, a comrade from the special forces, where we both once served, called me and invited me to organize and lead the work in forming a new special battalion. I agreed, as I was just about to return to service. When you’re offered something with which you can busy yourself and which you love, and, what’s more, pay is promised then why not? There’s no question. The task was to prepare 200 people of the special battalion.
They lodged us outside of Kiev and led me to the first turnout, before which I had no idea that they had already formalized the militia in school and given out ID’s. That’s it, it was too late to refuse them and, what’s more, it wasn’t I who picked them and I hadn’t seen them face-to-face at all. I take my first look – 180 kilos, third degree obesity, but they tell me: ‘he’s a patriot and on the Maidan he took a shield from a Berkut.’ And there stood yet another personage, from head to toe covered in tattoos, a convict in for 12 years for racially motivated murder. Later, however, he turned out to be a sensible guy. Then comes another group, almost straight from the Maidan, with shields and helmets. Not wanting to study, they say:
“Give me a machine gun and I’ll go shoot Moskal (derogatory slang for Russians – trans).”
No discipline whatsoever. Here’s the group that I had to prepare….