Kiev-1 Battalion maintains its positions in Sloviansk
This is one of the first volunteer battalions which was formed back on the Maidan, around the volunteers of the 7th Sotnya. They had just won the battle with Yanukovych’s regime and were ready to go immediately to the Crimea to fight the “green creatures”. Things turned out to be different though, but they went to the front nonetheless and were involved in critical operations near Sloviansk. They were amongst the first troops to enter the city. I met a retired doctor who recollects the arrival of columns of tired, dirty soldiers in the centre, already abandoned by the separatists.
“I was then queuing at one of the few food shops open at that time. I saw them and started to cry. Then, one of the soldiers came up, embraced me and said, ‘It’s over grandpa. All will be fine.’”
Contrary to what the soldiers had hoped, the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion continued to attack with the other troops. They were left in Sloviansk to maintain their position and keep things in order. No one liked that but they understood the reasoning behind the decision – Sloviansk is a major strategic point, and – which is no less important – a symbol of the fights against the separatists, and it is extremely important to keep the city. Especially as support for the Donetsk Republic was relatively high in the city and it is reasonable to take all precautions. The soldiers take their function very seriously – they patrol the city, work with the militsyia (even though it looked more like control over whether the local services, disgraced with their collaboration with the DNR, are doing their job) and are attempt to promote amongst the residents, a positive image of the Ukrainian army.