In memoriam of fallen Donbas war hero. “I am ready to fight for 15 centimeters of our land”

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Op-ed

Ukrainian serviceman Volodymyr Samoilenko, fallen hero of the war in Donbas was commemorated in Kyiv, on Ploshcha Maidan Nezalezhnosti on 6 July 2017. He died during the fights for Debaltseve two and a half years ago. Because of different bureaucratic procedures, his body was identified only now, thanks to a DNA test. During these 2 and a half years, his wife and daughter were in a state of uncertainty as his body was temporarily buried in Dnipro. Now, he was buried in Kyiv.

Volodymyr (call-sign Vovan) joined the volunteer battalion Donbas from its very first days. He went through the battles near Ilovaisk, one of the most tragic events of the de-facto war with the Russian Federation. The official number of the killed that time is 366, wounded — 429, missing — 158, and 128 were taken captive.

During the events near Ilovaisk, Vovan was injured, but did not want to go to the hospital because he thought that the injury was light and he had to stay and to fight: “How can I leave? There are our guys!” Only his comrades persuaded him to go for treatment. Still he had only one thought in mind – to come back to the front line to finish the war as soon as possible and to see everybody alive.

What follows is from a conversation with Vovan which took place in August 2014, when he was hospitalized at the Mechnikov Clinical Hospital in Dnipro after being injured in the battle of Ilovaisk, one of the deadliest of the Donbas war.

“We are all united! Everybody is standing for each other. One for all and all for one until the end!”

On the question why he joined the battalion, he said that he wanted to defend his fatherland.

Vovan was born in the Poltava Oblast. Before the war, he had a job as a system administrator. He had a military background, having served in the contingency corps in St. Petersburg, and in the 1990s worked as a security officer for embassies. Like other soldiers of the Donbas battalion, he did not consider himself as a hero:

“We are military men, we had to go through it.”

He had compassion for the locals of Donbas:

“Most of all, it’s a pity that civilians have to go through it. There is fear in their eyes. They are crying. They were surprised why civilians were getting shelled. Our [forces] were not shooting any residential city. I know it for sure. There was no order. They [those who are on the opposite side of the front line] neglect everything.”

About his enemies:

There is very big difference in hardware. However, even with our poor armament, we will fight back. Because we stand for the truth and they stand for money. If it’s dangerous they run away, because they are for money. They can only give guns to the locals, zombify them, and run away.

About the civilians helping wounded Ukrainian servicemen:

“Crowds of volunteers are coming [to the hospital]. I do not know what to say to them…They care about us… I feel awkward, I even want to cry… I wish to thank the people who helped us in Artemivsk, Kurahovo. It is also thanks to them that we are still standing.”

His relatives didn’t come to the hospital – at first, he kept his active combat at the front line secret from his wife, but she still found out:

“How do women feel everything?”

After being treated, Vovan returned to the frontline. The news about his death appeared on 13 February 2015, when battles in Debaltseve, a key railroad junction, were in full play. There he was killed.

Oleksandr (callsign “Moriak,” or “sailor” in Ukrainian) from the 30th brigade came to bid farewell to his fallen comrade at the ceremony and told details of Volodymyr’s death:

“The battle was ongoing. The guys regrouped. The battle lasted for 5 hours. These guys covered us. People say, “Heroes never die” – it’s about them. It’s about him. They were covering us, throwing grenades [onto the enemy]. And in the end there was a shot from a grenade launcher, and it hit them. They started to burn. And bodies don’t just burn like that. They gave us the last present. And under the cover of this smoke, black smoke, we were able to retreat. Unfortunately, one more guy from the Donbas battalion was left there. He couldn’t leave. He covered us while we were retreating. He said: “Guys, somebody has to cover the retreat.” We took our injured, but unfortunately couldn’t take the guys who got burned and one KIA. I say Glory to the Heroes. Even when they die, our heroes give presents you don’t expect. We took 17 prisoners, Russian soldiers. We gave 2 to the Donbas battalion. Later they exchanged one for three of our KIA. And later we were took the bodies of these burned guys.”

Oleksandr had curated the operation of the exchange.

At least 2652 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed from the outset of the war with Russian-separatist forces in Donbas.

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  • Rafael Hernandez

    He was used by the real criminals, Ukrainian-jewish oligharcs
    :((

    • Scradje

      Kremtrolls are always rabid anti-semites, thus confirming their naцi credentials. Third world degenerate scum glorifying the chekist rodent belong in the sewers.

      • Eddy Verhaeghe

        Rafael isn’t worth a reaction.

        • Scradje

          I didn’t know EP had a mod? He/she appears somewhat dormant. I don’t want to see any kremtrolls at all on his site; there’s plenty of others catering for scum.

          • gmab

            They used to have very tough mods. A few things changed after Soros’ foundation began sponsoring EP.

    • Screwdriver

      Do not say stupid things. There are many Jewish oligarchs in Russia. This has nothing to do with the subject

      • Rafael Hernandez

        I’m talking about Kolomoysky’s army…

      • Eddy Verhaeghe

        Screwdriver, for once I agree with you 😉

    • gmab

      He was fighting for his homeland, Ukraine. Ruski pigs killed him.

  • Randolph Carter

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Ukrainian serviceman Volodymyr Samoilenko, fallen hero of the war in Donbas, I thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice – for giving all you had, including your life, for your homeland, your people, your way of life, your family. You are, in the truest sense of the word, a hero. Your sacrifice, and those of your fellow Ukrainians, gave the woman I love security, safety, and a chance to spend her talents working in a hospital with the wounded who came back from the fighting; who did not give as much as you did but would have gladly done so. They would have given it all to keep Ukraine safe and independent and free of the evil of a demented little man who was turning his own country into a Hell, even for his own people. You and your comrades have stood tall against more than just a foe in a battle, but against evil itself, and in that I stand in your shadow.

    Володимир Самойленко, вами герой.

    • Murf

      Well said.

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Congratulations, Randolph, on a very eloquent tribute not just to Volodymyr Samoilenko but to all of the innocents who sacrificed their lives in defense of Ukraine and all of its people.

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      As a proud Fleming, knowing Flanders fields all to well, I also want to pay tribute to Volodymyr Samoilenko. May he rest in peace and may his wife, daughter, family and friends find peace in this world knowing that his sacrifice was not in vain.

      • Randolph Carter

        I don’t know Flanders fields, but I wanted to say that the battle is ours as well as Ukraine’s. We may not be presidents or senators or any other people with power, but we can support Ukraine and spread the word of the atrocities committed by Putin’s thugs. We can refute the propaganda and speak the truth. We can talk about the battles and about the sacrifices to enlighten people, because the media certainly won’t. We hear about Syria (whose conditions are terrible), but where are the reports on Lugansk, Donetsk, Crimea (and the diaspora there)? Where are the photos of devastated land and burnt-out houses and villages? Why does one country merit attention and another doesn’t? It is up to us to tell, whenever we can, what is truly happening here and speak up against Putin’s lies and half-truths. In a sense, we’re the fifth column against Putin and one he can’t bomb into silence.

  • Murf

    What a true hero.
    When others ran, he stayed.
    The they hid, he fought.
    He gave the last full measure of devotion to his people and nation.
    For generations to come he will be remembered for his noble sacrifice.
    While those who dishonored the selves will be forgotten.

    • Scradje

      Great tribute.

    • veth

      THE TRAITORS IN CRIMEA ARE TREATED LIKE TRAITORS!
      The military servicemen of Armed Forces of Ukraine, who changed their oath and stayed in Russian-occupied Crimea, cannot receive documents of military registration.

      KERCH (QHA) –
      Servicemen-contractors, who remained in Crimea in March 2014, can not officially find a job, local media reports.

      Traitors of Ukraine cannot get documents of military registration, which the occupiers require from them for employment, therefore they cannot have official recruitment.

      The former contractors have no indication on dismissal from the Armed Forces of Ukraine in their documents because it can be obtained only in Ukraine.

      “But they understand that we are criminals in Ukraine and the first attempt to cross the border will bring us into a prison”, the Kerch resident said in a conversation with a journalist.
      Reportedly, the case of the former Prosecutor of the Crimean region on supervision of legal compliance in the military sphere Sergei Nyanchur, who is accused of high treason, was referred to the court, according to information as of July 4.

      • Murf

        Thus the wages of treason.
        OR:
        Karma’s a bit*h ain’t it?

  • Screwdriver

    Battalion “Donbass” known very well for committing crimes against Donbas civilians.
    Those “heroes” will burn in hell.

  • Tony

    Slava to this hero, may he always be remembered. He was brave and noble, something everyone should strive for.