They Write to Us From Donbass: “The Ukrainians Cut Dog-Tags from the Bodies of Militiamen”
Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
15th May, 2016
Oleg Logatsky, the brave grenadier from the “Fifteen” brigade, was killed in battle near Marinka on July 19th, 2015. That day the defenders of the Republic destroyed a large group of saboteurs and almost reached the district center. It seemed that the operation was carried out successfully…
Then they marched along the route that according to intelligence reports was not supposed to have heavy artillery of the enemy, but they were met with tanks and armored vehicles. In an unequal battle, several people were killed and many wounded. Unable to wait for reinforcements, they were forced to retreat.
Then there was a short message in the media: “After 12 hours in Marinka a shooting battle began, which was joined by mortars and automatic grenade launchers. The UAF used tanks.
Among the fearless warriors who engaged in deadly combat with the armed enemy was Oleg Logatsky, callsign “Aka”.
In Donetsk, in the village of Oktyabrsky, which is near the airport, were his parents, his wife, and little daughter.
…Now the Logatskys have jumped ship from their private house next to Kremlivskyi Avenue. They live in their friends apartment in a safe area. Here, in Oktyabrsky, despite the “truce,” which is a no-no, shells still fly. The house is almost empty. Everything of value – clothing, dishes, other things – were removed back in 2014. It was reasoned that if the house is destroyed, then at least something will remain for living. But the house was spared by “Grads”, and only a couple of windows were knocked out by the blast. But the son’s fate was not spared.
They said ‘yes’ to the offer to meet and invited us to Oktyabrsky, where they are now coming every weekday to pick up after school eight-year-old granddaughter Vlada, daughter of Oleg, feed the cat, which has recovered from the wounds, and the dog, which still guards the empty house and, according to Logatsky, now barks only on arrivals, and when we arrived, silence.
I ask Tamara and Anatoly Moiseevich Logatsky to talk about their son and his involvement in the war, because he fought in it for a year and a half, held the Donetsk airport, Debaltsevo, and then was in Marinka. This is very important because such stories, before the years pass, are the most accurate and truthful especially now that the chronicles of war are being written. And regarding those who defended the militia, it is necessary to know their history and remember that the best of the best were killed for this land.
“In early summer 2014, Oleg moved to Berdyansk with his family . Naively we thought that all will end soon. And when the children came back, all hell broke loose. We had at least some basement there, and Oleg and Inara (they lived close together with the baby) had no basement. Nobody thought a war could start and that Ukraine will start killing civilians. Vlada, the grandchild, was then 6 years old. They didn’t know which room to hide the baby in, rushed through the house, and everything rattled and roared. After the shelling they took to the streets, houses were burning, people screaming. Oleg came to us and said: “I can’t take it any more. I will go to the militia.”
We were surprised, because not even the army accepted him for health reasons. My son had a severe operation on his spine. Afterwards all his exercise was banned. But he decided that he should protect us. Surprisingly, he did. He first fought as part of “Oplot”, and the joined the “Fifteeners” and “Abkhazia”.
Tamara’s husband continues the story:
“When Oleg decided to enroll in the militia, he immediately sat down at the computer. He was interested in how he could de-mine the area, and studied everything thoroughly. Then his ability to clear the field with many of our guys saved lives. His first time was at the capture of the Donetsk airport. They gave him an old carbine, as there were no other weapons. He came home dirty and tired. One day he came and said, “Dad, give me your bike”. I said: “Take it. And what do you want with it?” “To catch saboteurs. Climb from different angles, walking to catch up with them is difficult, and on a moped I can instantly catch them”.
After a week he comes and I ask where the moped is. He replied that it was ripped to shreds. My God, I suppose it’s good that he himself remained alive. But then he took his brand new Ford to the front. My son was very interested in machines and appliances, and graduated from automotive school. Before the war he was repairing and painting cars. And there at the front, knowledge of machine technology is very useful. That car was everything to him, yet he didn’t regret taking it. My son said: “Dad, do you remember in the last war the slogan: “Everything for the front, everything for victory!” This was followed by our grandfathers, and therefore we won. How can we now do it differently?” This Ford was with him in Debaltsevo and Marinka. Now it is all beaten in Inara’s garage. Oleg said that the machine more than once saved his life.
When the airport was already liberated, he came home but he wasn’t himself. He was always cheerful and joking, but the war made him into somewhat different. He told me that they made a bypass around the airport. What he saw was gruesome. The ground was littered with pieces of human bodies. They saw a dead Ukrainian soldier. The clothes rotted, and the body had began to decompose. The fact that he’s from UAF was identified by the stripes. And suddenly the boys hair stood on end. They saw the chest begin to rise from the dead and a fat crow crawl out. The militia began to chase it, but it again got into the flesh and disappeared there. Maybe I don’t want to tell this horror, but the Ukrainian mothers should know, where and why their children are sent.
“Oleg was bold and desperate. Somehow he and two of the militia clashed with the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the locomotive depot. A lot of UAF laid dead. He was shell-shocked there. After he told me: “If they knew that there were three people, all of us would be killed, but we kept fighting for 6 hours”. Then Oleg had already mastered the specialty of being a grenadier and was able to quickly change positions. The impression was that the shooting was being performed by several people.
At the front my son received several wounds. Two exit wounds, one shrapnel wound, and two contusions. But he did not stay long for treatment. In Debaltsevo, where they conducted a sweep operation, he received a perforating wound on the shoulder. He stayed at home for a few days – and went back into battle. He said that one hand is able to load the shells and that that’s enough.
In Debaltsevo he had to deal with subversive groups?
“Yes, there were many in the liberated city. Local battles happened, but Oleg talked about the war very little,” continues Tamar, “He always said, “Why do you want to know?” Didn’t want to upset us. We found out lots about our son from his friends after his death. Even the guys told me that he was able to quickly reload the weapon so that the enemy was under the impression that he was firing Grads. And then the “Fifteeners” were near Marinka. The boys gathered great, real heroes, because “Fifteeeners” is an international brigade. People went there of their own volition. The man from Yaroslavl, called “Instructor”, was in their team. He sold his business and came to Donbass in his car.
“”Fifteeners'” base was near Marinka in the stables of one oligarch. But then the Ukrops burned it down,” says Anatoly. “He was always tinkering with something. In the battle, each were given five grenades, and my son always had more. Homemade ones never failed. One day, Oleg told me there was such time where he was constantly shot at by snipers from the window of the orphanage who has already claimed several victims.
Oleg snuck closer to the orphanage, spotted him and began to observe. He followed him for two days. It became clear that the sniper was working alone, as no one came for him. So, he must leave the position. And so it happened. My son snuck into the orphanage and laid explosives on the sniper’s place. He told me that the place was equipped with gorgeous, real leather, so the rifle lay well. It looked like it was a foreign mercenary. Oleg got out of the orphanage and waited for the return of the sniper. He came, and soon there was an explosion. My son said: “I hate them so much, Papa, they came to our land to kill. We will kick them off of our land”.
Tamara continues the story of her husband:
“Oleg seemed to feel his death. Before the fatal fight he walked past all his relatives like he wanted to say goodbye to them. He told his wife Inara: “If I die, put me in the coffin with my favorite jacket.” But we did not believe that this would actually happen. You know, two years before the war I asked an astrologer for my son’s horoscope. And he told me a terrible thing, that Oleg is facing a dangerous wound to the head. I was surprised, because then we had peace. After all, he hadn’t produced anything so bad. When my son got shrapnel in the head for the first time in Marinka, nothing happened, I calmed down and though, well, the prediction came true after all.
On 18th July his command was urgently called to from up. When Oleg began to gather, Inara asked him, “where are you going?”. And he said, “To war”. He never really spoke, but just always replied: “I’m going to work”. He went together with a friend with the call sign “Zekan”. Zhenya, that was his name, he was an orphan. They were still in the “Oplot” when they met, then they passed together in the “Fifteeners”, and visited us. He was a brave guy…
We have since learned, that day, the headquarters received information that the UAF had deployed a large subversive group. It had to be stopped and destroyed. The commander said to our children: “Everyone has the right to refuse, for that no one will be punished.” It was clear that the battle to be bloody. Out of 14 fighters of the Fifteeners, whom it was decided would be sent to liquidate the group, nobody refused. The passage to Marinka was carefully mined, so the Ukrops didn’t really look after the territory. Oleg went first. He found the mines and neutralized them. The entire group passed without a single loss.
“At first everything went well. The enemy subversive group of 18 people was eliminated. Whoever was still alive, began to run away. But we did not shoot them in the back. The DPR army has such a law – to not shoot in the back. The guys from the “Fiteeners” afterwards told me that in those moments they felt the taste of victory. But it was short-lived. When they were in bound to the route, there should have been no equipment of the enemy. Our intelligence said: “it’s clean”.
They went part of the way and suddenly there were tanks and armored Personnel Carriers. The team began to request reinforcements, “Abkhazia,” he shouted into the comms: “Help! Get me help!” But the other end replied, “We do not hear anything. Repeat”. And so he did a few times. An unequal battle began. The guys began to fall. Oleg in that battle blew up the tank and destroyed the APC. He was not even scratched. He already began to retreat to his own, he even came out of the environment. But then, after acquiring shells, he went back into battle.
“In the evening when my son did not call, we started to worry. Closer to the night, Inara called “Zheka”’s friend to say that Zhenya (his nickname) had died, they were together, but Oleg’s fate was still not known. Afterwards the son was identified by his armor, he has to alter it to his figure, as he was slender. On the armor was only the flag of the DPR. Oleg was shot in the head. On his temple was a birthmark. A shell fragment hit exactly there. The wound was end-to-end, and from such a wound he died quickly.
With him, the glorious warriors “Greek” and “Sergeant”, tortured by executioners, were found dead. They were wounded, and the fiends finished them off. The callsigns on the bodies of the heroes were cut. They were first tortured, and then their bodies were mutilated. “Greek’s” wife Vika told me that experts presumed that “Greek” died of shock. It became known that “Zheka” was killed when taking out the wounded. He took out three and went back for a fourth. And then the shell hit. If my husband was wearing a helmet, perhaps he would still be alive. But he was not. That day our guys forgot to bring water. The heat was terrible. They were thirsty, so running in the helmet was hard, and Zheka took it off. This guy has killed.
The next day we went to the morgue to identify the body. It was Oleg.
All the costs of the funeral and the organization was taken care of by the Commander. We buried Oleg and Zhenya on the “walk of fame” in a cemetery near Shakhta 6 Kapitalna. The guys who survived the carnage came to the funeral directly from the hospital. Some were in wheelchairs. They drove to the grave of Oleg and kissed his hand, saying, “He saved our lives, first leading through a minefield, and then covered us when we were being carried from the battlefield. We are in debt to him.”
When Oleg went to the front, he said, “If I succeed with my life to save ten people, I will assume that life has not been lived in vain.” And it happened. In that battle near Marinka, ten people survived”.
Did you get financial assistance from the Republic?
“They promised 800,000 but have not yet given it. They paid 30,000 Hryvnia for forty days. Yes, I didn’t misspeak, it was in hryvnia. And when it became very bad, Inara and another widow went to the Minister of Defence of the Republic Vladimir Kononov, but nothing happened. The monetary help was given to them by “Abkhazia” from their own fund. In the “Fifteeners”, the guys each had to pay money for such purposes. They promised to put up a monument, but to this day this still hasn’t been done. Inara works at the railway station.
They didn’t cut her off because she’s a widow. But since February, the Donetsk railroad has not issued a single payment. All together we are helping raise his daughter Vlada. But all of us are struggling, both materially and morally. As we understand it, the whole deal is about the law on the status of servicemen. When they adopt the law, there will be aid, but in the meanwhile it can be said that they just ditched us.
Tell me, was Oleg awarded for this fight?
“No, they only promised. But our daughter-in-law went to the lawyer of the government’s house and he told her that our son was not on the list. How is it possible?! Destroying tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers, covering comrades, and before he even eliminated a sniper. The guys eliminated 40 enemy soldiers in battle. Yes, they are all heroes. And I have like half of my heart torn.”
“Before this fight, soldier from the “Fifteeners” were taken to the Donetsk Botanical Gardens. Oleg took Vlada with him. He always took his daughter with him everywhere. Her favorite shirt says “Daddy’s girl”. On the way back he bought a DPR flag. Now the girl keeps the flag and is waiting for when she will be able to put dad’s award that he deserved on it.