There was no fear, even when we were bombed for hours, when buildings all around us were in flames, when a curtain of dust stood before us, when our destroyed equipment burnt to the ground. I thought …if I have to die, I’d first like to call the girl who dumped me and just ask her to forgive me.
“My name is Volodymyr, and my friends from Bila Tserkva gave me my nickname. I’m part of Avtodozor in Bila Tserkva. They named me Romeo as I went out with my girl alone.
Why the Donbas battalion? …Because it was the best unit, the best battalion. People were afraid of us and called us “punishers”, “Ukrops”, “zombies”. We liberated the city, but we didn’t touch a single civilian.
I had a friend; I lived with him for one month in the same tent in the training camp. He died in the first battle.
I took part in ATO throughout July and almost all of August up to the 24th, our Independence Day, I was wounded in the leg during the assault on the second section of Ilovaisk. I was taken to Starobeshevo. It took us a long time to get there because bombs were flying all over. The medics put stitches in my leg, and the next day the Russians bombed the city. We got out of there with great difficulty. As for the other guys – my platoon, my company – they all remained in Ilovaisk. All communications are down, and to tell the truth…it’s sad. After I’d been taken out, it was impossible get out of that place – the “door” was closed, our troops were totally surrounded. I believe that we were just dumped there to die. The government promised to give us support, but there wasn’t any. Every day we waited for reinforcements, we waited for equipment. We didn’t have anything. We were constantly under fire. We were shelled by mortars and heavy artillery. Tanks approached our positions. We defended ourselves as best we could. We lost someone every day.
The commander said that anyone who wanted could go home to the base. But, we all have “iron balls”. The commander of our first assault company, the second platoon, is now in captivity, and we don’t know whether he’s alive.
I was scared, when it was brought from Ilovaisk and we stopped at the camp of the National Guard Artillery unit. We were shelled, and there I am… lying with a bullet through my leg and can’t do a thing. I just lie and wait.
I saw a bulletproof vest lying near me, so I threw it over my head although I knew very well it wouldn’t save me from projectiles, but it was somehow easier psychologically. So, that’s how I spent two hours lying under fire with other wounded guys.
We had some fun, too. I remember how they brought in six turkeys and decided to cook dinner. But, anti-tank launchers were firing at us; I was hit three times in the arm and didn’t get the chance to try the turkey. The fragments are still there, in my arm.
We were not only fighting, but we were also helping people around us. We found them and transported them to school basements, gave them food; we shared whatever we could with them. They immediately changed their opinion about us.
I was really touched by the children who sat on our laps. They aren’t afraid of us anymore. They would come out of the school basements, and we’d carry them around in our arms. They trusted us and knew that there was nothing to be afraid of. A young woman, her husband and child told us about how those DNR guys tried to brainwash them: “When the Ukrainian Army comes, they’ll eat your children; they’ll rape you and kill your husband.”
I’m for peace. I want there to be peace in my country, no war. But, Russia keeps rolling in, while our government turns a blind eye. I want to tell Putin one thing: “Putin, we’ll be back! And beer in Moscow will cost six hryvnias.”
I’d like to appeal to our government and tell them that we’ve had enough of this mockery. You guys have brought people to the brink, to the boiling point. We’ll come to the capital and restore order. If our generals stopped wearing out the seat of their pants at meetings, this war would’ve been over a long time ago. And so many deaths could’ve been avoided.
I don’t regret anything. I’d go back now if I had to… because my friends are there.[hr] Source: inforesist.org, translated by Christine Chraibi