“Donbas” Battalion – a Story of the Wild East
For most of the “blacks”, the chief motivation behind joining the battalion was to be in a place where one can “really” do something for Ukraine. And for the past month, they have been doing a lot, with a boost, and a truly Cossack fantasy. Since "Donbas" never became part of the structures of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, they behaved a little like cowboys in the Wild West – deciding autonomously where to go, whom and when to attack and what tasks to carry out. When weapons were in short supply, they started to occupy separatists’ stations.
Semen Semenchenko, the leader of the “blacks”, used to say: “Complaining that you cannot fight because you have no weapons? Welcome to Donbas, come and get them yourself. There is plenty with the separatists”. After their base had been attacked, they decided to go mobile and gained an advantage as a result; attacking separatist stations unexpectedly and withdrawing quickly, taking away weapons and captives, needed for information. They even occupied a station of pro-Russian militia and forced the uniformed ones to fulfil their duties.
During our last meeting, they asked me not to take photos, especially because of the place in which they were at the time. They were trying to be cautious.
This morning, they were attacked not far from the village of Karlivka, by a large, well-armed troop of separatists. This is one of the indications that someone had betrayed them; enemies attacked them on their planned route. There are many wounded and information about fatalities still cannot be confirmed.
Immediately after the attack had started, Semen requested help and armoured vehicles from the headquarters of the Ukrainian army in order to evacuate, under their cover. The boys were cut off in the building. Help did not come, and the result – soldiers were taken captive by separatists. Their lives are hanging by a thread: they have made it too difficult for the enemies to just set them free.
Task number one for now – rescue (exchange) the captives and provide the wounded ones with medical care. And then – back to normal activities… hopefully.