On the approaches to Gorlovka
Original article on politicsnews.info
Translated by Roman / Edited by O.C.
The Gorlovka-Enakievo junction is the front line of Donbass defence: to the East of these two cities merged into a large agglomeration, there is a big group of the Ukrainian Army in Debaltsevo, which is a real operational threat.
The road block—it is a forward patrol of the Militia at an important crossroads. Its small garrison is ready to meet everyone who decides to break the fragile truce.
“We have the best tea, with honey… Want some?” The Militiamen greet us with these words. The war has not embittered these people—on the contrary, they are willing to share their last crust with their guests as well as with their neighbours.
“We were delivered coal, so we said to the local people to come and take some,” the commander tells us. “Once, a woman came for a help to our roadblock: she had seven children, but they had nothing to eat at home. We packed what we had and gave it to her; we ourselves had to tighten our belts… But that’s all right, it could be worse…”
The township population recognizes the Militiamen as their protectors, although they had to find ways for mutual understanding in the beginning—there are few who would be pleased at the establishment of a military facility next to their house. Ordeals brought the people together: during the fire attacks, the Militiamen would take the elderly and the children to safe places. Also, with the help of the Militia, a free canteen was opened in the neighbouring village during the days of blockade.
Another merit of the Militia is the promotion of a healthy moral environment in the area.
“We do not experience either marauding or larceny,” the commander says. “Alcoholics and drug addicts were cleaned up with “labour therapy” for the benefit of the defences, although, before the war started, they were a very common problem in Zhdanovka. We ourselves do not drink, all having guns. There is no time for drinking, considering the enemy positions are a couple of kilometres from here. It is encouraging that the local youth follows our example.”
There is a prolonged lull at this sector of the front. However, you can feel tension all the time. The firing is centred mainly on such areas of Gorlovka as Kurganka, Bessarabka, Golma, Mayorsk, Ozeryanovka, Panteleymonovka. The shells fall on residential areas of Enakievo. The punitive troops fire on Kirovskoe every day—they knocked the hell out of the district 18. They shelled Zhdanovka on Sunday. Some time ago, in the early hours of the morning the sound of a distant cannonade reached the road block.
“After the punitive troops took the neighbouring town of Uglegorsk, we were shelled for two weeks. Then it stopped,” the commander says. “They don’t fire at us any more—they fire at civilians, although the coordinates of our road block have been leaked onto the internet by the Ukies, including the placement of barracks. What more is there to say? While firing here, they hit a man`s house—his car and barn were burned, the gate flew across the whole yard and landed at the opposite end of the garden. Even though it was a huge iron gate, and the yard wasn`t small at all…”
“In the summer, when we were based in Uglegorsk, I saw with my own eyes a child torn to pieces by a Ukrainian shell. He was only about six years old,” the Militiaman says. “Is it normal? At the punitive troops’ road blocks people are asked about the starting date of the school year. Why? To eliminate us by killing our children? That will only make us furious! If they want to fight so much—they should fight against us! They have the advantage in numbers, so why don`t they start a close-quarters attack? No, they are not brave enough for close-in fighting, firing with artillery…”
Among the defenders of the road block there are those who participated in an unequal battle with the punitive troops on the streets of Uglegorsk.
“There were few of us, only around eighty people. We had no tanks or armour, only mortars and machine guns,” the Militiaman recalls. “We held back the enemy’s assault for around six and a half hours. The commander gave the order to retreat to those whose ammunition was spent. Those with ammunition held their positions. When the ambulance took the wounded away, the Ukies intentionally fired at them—directly at the “red cross”. The next day the Ukrainian press was carping that they had defeated Russian special forces. But there were no special forces, all were locals.”
The punitive forces’ cruelty here is known first-hand. A friend of one of the Militiamen was brutally murdered:
“In the village of Kommunar, near Nizhnyaya Krynka, I used to have a neighbour. He was nineteen, a smart and well-read guy. We used to go to work together, and we had many things to talk about—which is not common with young people nowadays. He helped us to dig the trenches. For this he was killed, and his father was robbed of his car…”
Many times local residents have complained to the Militia about the National Guard soldiers regularly extorting bribes from pensioners at Ukrainian road blocks. They beat those who are not willing to pay. Afterwards, people have to spend a lot of money on medical treatment. But a trip beyond the front line in a taxi, for instance to Artemovsk, costs 500 hryvnia—that is half the monthly pension!
The press has repeatedly mentioned that Nazis widely use narcotic stimulants. This is what the Militiaman recalls:
“In Uglegorsk I hit one of the punitive troops right in the helmet—he just set it straight and kept on going, like a robot. I hit his bulletproof vest—he just staggered and kept moving on, as if nothing had happened! A normal man would have at least bent down, if there was firing in his direction. In Enakievo, we captured a Ukie when he was about to drink a beer—we shot him in both legs but he didn’t even grimace. It causes great pain, he didn’t even feel it!”
There are people of different profession serving at the road block. In civilian life they were miners, builders, metallurgists. There are both young and old people. One man is almost seventy, but his courage is to be envied: he fought non-stop in the hottest days. However, there is one dearest wish for all these people: “Drive out the enemy and get to work!”
Residents are returning to the village. They trust in the defenders of Donbass, they believe in the nascent state. They have to work and establish everyday life in immediate proximity to the front line. The war here has become a commonplace for everyone—as the Militiamen say, the most terrible thing is that children became used to war, and they already know from which direction the cannon fire comes.
I want Donbass to get used to peaceful life as soon as possible. However, today the only synonym for the word “peace” is “The Victory of Novorossiya”.
Donetsk-Gorlovka-Enakievo. Alexander Dmitrievsky.