Editing by S. Naylor & @GBabeuf
Twenty soldiers and three officers of the Ukrainian Army came under fire from punitive battalion troops near Starobeshevo.
According to the commander of the DPR Militia platoon (call sign ‘Pastor’), what happened near Starobeshevo was that the forces of the Right Sector attempted to prevent members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) from disarming and surrendering to the Militia.
“We moved to Starobeshevo, with orders to entrench in an area where the 93rd Brigade of the UAF, from Dnepropetrovsk, had been encircled earlier,” says Pastor.
But it turned out that part of the territory was under a dual encirclement, [by Militia and by Right Sector], and two IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) which attempted to surrender came under fire from their own side.
According to the Militiaman, one of the officers of the Ukrainian Army—who was one of those fired on—admitted that those who had opened fire were Right Sector fighters. Moreover, the colonel suggested that the Right Sector fighters had deliberately arranged an ambush for his soldiers, who had been planning to disarm and surrender to the Militia.
On August 30, the DPR Army announced that it would provide an opportunity for seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers to pull out of the encirclement, according the DPR Minister of Defense, Vladimir Kononov.
Throughout the day, DPR representatives had been negotiating with the commanders of the surrounded Ukrainian forces to lay down arms.
Aleksandr Zakharchenko said that the options were to surrender armored vehicles in good condition or the destruction of enemy forces if they damaged the vehicles.
The ultimatum was delivered to three Ukrainian paramilitary battalions—“Kherson”, “Kiev”, and “Shakhtersk”—as well as units of the 93rd, 25th, 23rd, 30th and 40th Brigades of the UAF.
Militiaman: First, two IFVs [Infantry Fighting Vehicles -ed.] came out, they were being hit by their own side—very strong fire.
Interviewer: How did you determine that they were being shot by their own side?
M: Well, they left their positions, they were told that there will be, uh, an open safe corridor, to surrender. Turned out they were in a double encirclement, by us and also by the Right Sector.
You know what a battalion is? It’s about three hundred and fifty men with armoured vehicles, tanks; you know, supply workers, all that… Imagine this: out of a whole battalion, only two IFVs and maybe twenty men made it, uh, because they were shot by their own forces. Three officers made it—a captain, a lieutenant, a lieutenant colonel, the battalion commander. Plus twenty soldiers. They came out and openly surrendered.
They raised the white flag straight away, without talking. They said they were surrendering. So we took the men and vehicles, moved them to the rear, and disarmed them. To start with, we put them in the local police station holding area, and then moved them to Donetsk in the police vehicles.
I: Did they understand that they were being shot at by their own side?
M: They were the ones that told us about it in the first place. The colonel said—openly—“We were being shot at by our own side!” He said “They really didn’t want us to come out and surrender.” And they were the same people—the ones who were shooting—who had said: “You’ll get safe passage to come out and surrender.” So it was an obvious [provocation]…