In Loving Memory!

On an anniversary of the Ilovaisk tragedy hundreds of crosses with portraits of soldiers, who were lost near the village of Ilovaysk, were set up in front of the Russian embassy. The portrait of the Russian Minister of Defence Shoygu was coated with red paint symbolizing blood. Four years ago the blood was real. Too much of it was shed. More than three hundred soldiers were killed, more than four hundred wounded and three hundred were captured. They did not die in a battle; they were murdered, shot point-blank while they were leaving through the agreed “green corridor”. Unprecedented cruelty, losses among civilians and devastation followed.

That is how the real war between the two countries – Russia and Ukraine – began. Not the invasion of “the little green men” that took and annexed the Crimea without striking a blow but a real war with the regular forces of the cruel and subtle enemy, the forces hugely more powerful than ours. Russia couldn’t let Ukraine take control over Donetsk. Aggressor needed the city for other purposes. They wanted to split our country, foment long-term military confrontation and destabilize the economy and the political life of Ukraine… A similar tactic was applied to Moldova, then to Georgia. In 2014, our turn came.

Ilovaisk opened the way for a rapid advance of our troops and irregular military forces. The insurgents would not be able to hold it back. And then the Russian military intervened, as always – without any identifying markings, disguised as Ukrainian armed vehicles. Our troops were surrounded by the enemy and could not resist the aggressor. An agreement seemed to be reached on the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops. While negotiations on the withdrawal routes were taking place, the enemy based heavy weapons along the “agreed corridors.” A terrible massacre followed. I think the main goal of the aggressor was not only to murder but to intimidate, to foment chaos and despair in the ranks of our troops. But this did not happen.

The victims of the Ilovaisk tragedy were not the last ones. The war is still there with no clear prospects for completion. The number of deaths is not so great. But there are dead and wounded almost every day.

An investigation was conducted on the Battle of Ilovaisk. It is practically completed and has been sent to the international court. The report of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is accessible. It is impressive. No matter how overwhelming the evidence, it is absolutely clear that Russia will ignore it and deny its own guilt. Dictators do not care about the international community. They have their own goals. But we must persistently speak the truth and seek international recognition of the Ilovaisk tragedy as a war crime. Lest we forget our dead…  Deep sympathy to the families… Ultimate recovery to the wounded…

By Boris Khersonskiy

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