Battle of Ilovaisk: Honoring Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Bloodiest Battle

Ukraine, War in the Donbas

A number of memorial ceremonies have been held around Ukraine as the country marks three years since the Battle of Ilovaisk — one of the most tragic chapters of the war in eastern Ukraine. Flowers and candles have been placed by a memorial in Kyiv to honor the hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers killed in the battle. A minute of silence was also held. In a special report, we have the story of one soldier who was killed during one of the bloodiest battles of Russia’s over three years war in Ukraine.

The mother of Yevhen Kharchenko, a killed volunteer fighter in the Donbas Battalion, shows a photo of a destroyed fire engine near Ilovaisk. It was at the front of a Ukrainian military convoy that was moving along the “green corridor” on August 29, 2014. At point-blank range, the vehicle was shot at by a Russian T-72 tank. Natalya learned about the last seconds of her son’s life from his comrades:

“He said the fire engine had blown up fifty meters away from him. He said that Red had been on top of it with a grenade launcher (Red was my son’s callsign). He said he’d been smiling and waving to him. Then he was gone in an instant. We recognized his body by a tattoo.”

August 2014. Fierce fighting for the liberation of Donbas from the Russian troops. On August 18, Ukrainian soldiers took control of a significant part of Ilovaisk. But they did not manage to capture the entire city. On the night of August 23rd-24th, regular Russian troops entered Ukraine: thousands of ground forces, hundreds of pieces of equipment, dozens of stationary guns and mortars.

“The events that happened around Ilovaisk are evidence of the treacherous, vile aggression of the Russian Federation against our state,” says Vladyslav Seleznyov, Spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

August 28th, 2014. The Ukrainian military are surrounded by Russian forces. That day, the mother of Oleksiy Horay, a soldier in the battalion “Peacemaker”, found out that her son had been in the middle of the confrontation.

“He called me at about half past three. I heard something that resembled the rumbling of thunder, so I asked if it had been raining there. To what he replied that there had been rain and Grads,” remembers Nelya Horay, mother of the Deceased Soldier Oleksiy Horay.

Oleksiy was killed the next day. On the night of August 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin, playing the role of a peacekeeper, called for the creation of a humanitarian corridor for the Ukrainian military. The Russian officers promised them a safe exit. In the morning, organized columns of people and vehicles had been on their way out when the worst happened. They were shot at point-blank range from heavy armored vehicles.

“We were surrounded. They were shooting at us from the front, left and right. We could not even turn back. The range of fire from the road was about 700 meters,” says Oleksandr Deyneha, War Veteran In “Donbas” Battalion Who Fought Near Ilovaisk.

The car evacuating the wounded received one of the first blows. Even the symbol of the red cross did not stop the invaders. According to Deyneha, there had been roughly 20 people in it:

“Then they hit another car that had a red cross painted on a sheet. There had been medics and wounded in it. They burnt it down right before my eyes, too. I was following it, and I saw how people inside were burning, some fell out of the car in their last moments of life.”

Shooting a humanitarian corridor is a war crime. It is a violation of international conventions on the rules of warfare and is, therefore, a subject to criminal penalties. Ukraine’s evidence of Russia’s guilt in the Ilovaisk tragedy has already been transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

“There is such a thing as treachery in the course of military operations, as in a tactical deviousness, a manifestation of the brutality of one side towards another. And that’s what the shooting of the corridor was on August 29, 2014,” explains Alina Pavlyuk, Lawyer, Expert of the Center for Strategic Affairs of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union on Human Rights.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 429 injured, and 300 taken prisoner in the Ilovaisk tragedy.

“We said we loved him very much, that we were waiting for him. We are still waiting for him. And he will definitely come back,” says Natalya Kharchenko.

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  • RedSquareMaidan

    If this treachery doesn’t convince the ICC of Putin’s war crimes, nothing will.

    • ak47

      Let the neo-nazi hordes armed by their dumerican sponsors (same sponsors as ISIS) stick their filthy snouts in Donbass again, they will burn in a few new couldrons.

  • Rafael Hernandez

    What a complete utter sake of unnecessity. And we can thank the Ukrainian-Jewish oligharcs in Kiev for this mess!!!

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      Rafael, you apparently don’t like Jews…

      • Rafael Hernandez

        Damn right, they are behind every single misery on earth now and before

        • Eddy Verhaeghe

          You are one of those souls beyond redemption… By the way how many Jews you know personally?

          • Rafael Hernandez

            Many, and besides i’m not talking about ordinary jews, just the ones that are rich and have power.

          • Eddy Verhaeghe

            Don’t ask me to believe you. The ordinary ones will get the same treatment by your kind, if the likes of you ever get into positions of power.

            We’ve heard the chants of those idiots in Charlotteville recently.

            And history saw what your kind did through a long history of persecution of the Jews. Never a distinction was made between good Jews and bad Jews. They all got the same treatment by the communists, the Nazis, the christians, the muslims, etc…

      • Scradje

        Of course not, kremtrolls are naцis, exactly like the throwbacks they troll for.

  • Dirk Smith

    Aleppo, Ilovaisk, Grozny, Debaltseve. Hang the gay dwarf with his butt buddy Yanukovych at Maidan Nezalezhnosti. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9efa813d417228c20b9a0f2cba5c45eb1f771ae0166c9bf72b69dae0241ea47b.jpg

    • ak47

      A nazi ape like you will sooner cook in another Illovaisk style couldron. Would you, maggot, like to be fried or toasted?

      • Dirk Smith

        LOL. A mongol Nazi, what a shocker. Nazi Germany’s former ally’s days are numbered. Your Nazi philosopher Dugin will also hang also.
        Countdown to collapse #2. Back to whoring out your sister for you, I guess.

        • ak47

          You have wet your wee nazi pants in your moist squirming dreams. Herr Hitler, the hangman would be proud of you but the likelihood is that you will wind up just like him – an exhibit in a nazi freak show.

  • George12ISL

    At first, the bloodiest battle for the Ukrainian Army was in Debaltsevo cauldron.
    Secondly as it is a war crime to shoot at vehicles transferring injured people, the same war crime is when you bomb trucks that also transfer injured people. And the massacre in Donetsk airport was a brutal action.
    Moreover, this excuse that Ukrainians fight the Russian Army is just for kids! If you believe that the Ukrainian Army can confront the Russian, Crimea is waiting!
    Last, how could you talk about Aleppo? Do you support Al-Qeida?