A flag at the positions of Ukrainian troops after the bombardment by heavy Russian artillery and multiple missile launchers near the town of Maryinka. June 3, 2015. (Image: Reuters)
Article by: Yuriy Butusov
On June 29, in response to the continuous massive firing on their positions, the Ukrainian army was forced to retaliate with two brief hits at the advance positions of the 7th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian Federation’s Donbas occupation force. On these small heights the enemy had concentrated automatic grenade launchers and high-caliber machine guns, which fired at our positions continuously. Artillery target spotters were also based there. Appeals to the OSCE Mission proved unsuccessful as the Russian command wittingly continued the armed provocations in this area.
Our positions here are defended by the 54th Mechanized Brigade, the 25th “Kyivan Rus” Motorized Infantry Battalion, as well as an intelligence unit from the “Right Sector” Volunteer Corps.
It was the same 7th “Slavic” Motorized Infantry Brigade of the “LNR” where the known Russian Nazi, “LNR lieutenant” Anton Rayevsky commanded a platoon. Here’s how Rayevsky described the brigade’s commanders:
“When the commander of the Mykolayivka garrison code-named “Machete,” which now commands the 3rd Motorized Battalion of the 7th Brigade of the “LNR,” was wounded in Mykolayivka, he shared the cabin with a Russian regular military officer, so-called “Russian adviser” — that is a fact. There were more than one such adviser whether it was in Mykolayivka, or in Semenivka, or in Sloviansk itself. Russian advisors are the direct commanders in each locale, they keep the military tempo of the entire machine. Militants themselves are not commanders. It could be that in localized conflicts they take immediate part and give orders, but, on the whole, the Russian military advisors monitor war battles, control them, and give orders. In turn, they receive orders from Moscow, of course.”
At the time of the battles for Debaltseve, the commander of the 7th Brigade was Anatoly Khromov, a colonel of the Russian Federation (RF) Armed Forces and a deputy commander of the Combat Training Directorate of the Ground Troops of the RF. Rayevsky’s words that command positions in the 7th Brigade are occupied by Russian citizens were fully confirmed during the war.
On June 28, under a cover of weapons fire from the heights, several enemy groups occupied the neutral demarcation zone, thus getting dangerously close to the Ukrainian positions, and proceeded to conduct sniper fire. The Ukrainian soldiers were forced to take countermeasures. For this, they did not use the prohibited heavy weapons in order to adhere to the Minsk Accords.
In the morning of June 29, two combined groups of Ukrainian soldiers entered the neutral zone to locate enemy snipers. The enemy noticed their movement and opened fire from a prevailing hight. Our fighters were ready for this scenario. Skillfully using the terrain, they advanced to the enemy positions and attacked its platoon stronghold.
During the firefight on the height, the enemy platoon commander was killed. The enemy force crumbled and started to flee. At the same moment, the Russian heavy artillery started shelling the height and targeted its own positions.
Despite the artillery fire, the Ukrainian soldiers captured the enemy strongpoint. On the killed enemy commander they found documents in the name of Ayrat Natikovich Kalimullin, platoon commander of the 7th Motorized Infantry Brigade, citizen of the Russian Federation from Tatarstan.
According to a mission member, about 20 mercenaries were killed and 6 were captured. Our soldiers destroyed enemy ammunition, grenade launchers and high-caliber machine guns, and returned to their positions. The Russian artillery continued a massive bombardment of its own height and our defense positions. The captured POWs were also caught under the shelling and [at the time of writing] it was unknown whether they were able to survive under the Russian shells.
Regretfully, the price of the victory was very high. During the mission, heroically died Wassyl Slipak, a “Right Sector” volunteer soldier and prominent Ukrainian opera singer, and Anatoly Koval, infantryman of the 25th “Kyivan Rus” Motorized Infantry Battalion, born in 1985 in Obukhiv region of Kyiv oblast. Ten more Ukrainian soldiers received light wounds.
The death of the warriors did not come cheap to the Russian occupation force. The enemy casualties numbers are far from final. According to messages in Russian social media, the real quantity of the KIA mercenaries is over 30. Maddened by the losses, the Russian command opened heavy fire from Minsk Accords-prohibited high-caliber weapons at its own and Ukrainian positions in the area of Luhanske.
The “L/DNR” occupation command published a panicked message about a “Ukrainian Armed Forces offensive,” that “200 Ukrainians were killed,” “they already captured 5 kilometers.” The main reserve of the 1st Armed Corps of the “DNR,” so-called the “Republican Guard,” was moved to the area of the fight from Donetsk.
Currently, the situation on the Debaltseve direction is stable. The enemy continues its bombardment, but there is no more fire from the defeated enemy height. Only corpses lie there for now.
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