“Kiev Ruthenia” battalion on front Line
For many weeks now, the 11th “Kiev Ruthenia” Battalion has been surrounded on three sides and shelled by separatists. They can be reached only from the side of Debalcev and under a special permit only. It is plain to see that no one is joking here – before departure, we undergo special training in first aid, in how to behave in case of shelling and in other unexpected situations. Everyone is claiming concertedly that the knowledge will not be of use most probably but without the “course” no one will let us go through the guards.
Because the battalion is in a very advanced position, has strong support and hardly any losses despite its continued presence on the first front line. No one will take us there, yet the looks of the soldiers returning after patrolling gives an insight into of the situation. Most of the volunteers do not return home after the regulatory forty-five days, primarily because they do not want to. Leaving comrades behind with whom they have been fighting arm in arm for a second month, is out of the question. After a dozen or so minutes of a conversation I get to understand how harmonious and hence, effective teams the different detachments are. They only have complaints about the equipment; antiquities of the 1970s which need to be brought back into shape on site.
Paradoxically – I am as close to the front as is possible for a “civilian”. I have not laughed so much for a long time as I’ve been laughing here. Humour is part and parcel of the battalion’s daily existence.