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War in Donbass: ‘a mined truce’, continuing to bury soldiers

This post was published in Free Press. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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MOSCOW, (BM) – To begin with, a fact that no one in the world calls into question: the current ceasefire in Donbass, which began at 00:01 on July 27, 2020, in principle, is still observed by both parties. Albeit with some violations, but the regime of a complete ceasefire is operating on the front line. But this, at first glance, absolutely contradicts fact No. 2: throughout this September, every day, all over Ukraine there are funerals of soldiers and officers who continue to die in the struggle for Donbass.

For example, on September 18, near the town of Yavoriv, ​​Lviv region, local residents forever said goodbye to 19-year-old Roman Chervinsky, a driver-mechanic of the 14th separate mechanized brigade named after Prince Roman the Great.

Joint Forces Operations (JF) Command claims the soldier died as a result of careless handling of a grenade. And two days before that, another Ukrainian serviceman, whose name is still kept secret in Kiev, for some reason, found his death near the village of Novotoshkovskoye in the Donbass. And also, as officially stated, as a result of careless handling of a grenade.

Something somehow often ordinary grenades began to let down the fighters participating in the OOS, don’t you think? One of the local leaders of nationalists, Andrei Biletsky, drew attention to the same oddity. He is outraged: “Since the beginning of the ‘truce’, an ‘epidemic of self-explosions’ began in eastern Ukraine. Eight soldiers in 42 days – and that’s just from grenades. Not taking into account the careless handling of firearms, heart attack, etc.”

We have before us that rare case when one can agree with the big and convinced villain Biletsky. Only about the “self-detonation” in the Ukrainian trenches in the Donbass, nevertheless … Only the leader of the Ukrainian nationalists should not pretend that he does not understand: where did the Ukrainian military have so many corpses in the JFO under the armistice?

The thing is that in most cases about grenades – this is Kiev in official papers writes for the gullible. Mines, mines, in fact, are most often blown up today in those parts of Biletsky’s “brothers”! On its own anti-personnel mines, which in accordance with the Convention on the complete prohibition of this type of weapons, which it ratified on December 27, 2005, Ukraine should not have at all. Not a single one, except for training!

For those who are not in the know: The Ottawa Protocol or the Convention on the Banning of Antipersonnel Mines provides for the complete destruction of all stockpiles of non-directional antipersonnel mines (with the exception of a small number of mines required for mine clearance training) and the elimination of minefields.

Russia honestly admitted that, given the enormous length of its land borders, without such weapons, it is not in a position to repel an attack by the ground forces of a strong enemy. And she did not sign the Ottawa Protocol. And Kiev signed. And, as usual in this capital, he deceived everyone again. Since, in reality, not only did he keep a huge number of anti-personnel mines in his arsenals, but for several years he literally felled them in wagons on the front line in Donbass.

What, where and how much – no one will tell you even in the command of the JFO. Since most often such activities of the Ukrainian army were not documented by its own commanders. The thing is that both sides of the armed conflict in Donbass are waging a war without a continuous front line. Due to the lack of personnel, the defense of the line of contact, which is almost 250 kilometers long, is exclusively focal in nature.

Platoon and company strongholds on both sides are equipped only along roads, on dominant heights and on the outskirts of settlements. Between control points in bad weather and at night, you can walk to your full height, without even bending over. Before the armistice, the sabotage and reconnaissance groups of both opponents willingly used it.

But when enemy intelligence in the pitch darkness wanders right under your nose, it is easy to go to bed in the evening and never wake up again. To avoid such misfortune for the participants in the conflict in Donbass, the only reliable means is mines. The thicker you put them around your trench, the longer you will live. Such a soldier’s wisdom seems to have been learned by all participants in this civil war.

Mines are placed there not only by hand. On both sides of the front line, the Soviet still universal mine layers of the UMZ type based on the ZIL-131 car worked hard. They threw mines PTM-3, POM-2, PFM-1S, PDM-4 just in armfuls. In other words, it is “throw in”, at a distance of 60 to 120 meters around the UMP. The density of such mining according to the standard is 0.1-0.2 mines per square meter. And who knows where they landed then and where are their victims now supposedly destroyed in accordance with the Ottawa Protocol, the very same Ukrainian PTM-3, POM-2, PFM-1S and PDM-4?

For six years of war, the former flourishing mining region has been covered with such a thick layer of this deadly “good” that in February 2019, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OSHA) officially recognized Ukraine as the most mined country in the world. That is, Afghanistan, Syria and other zones of actual and long-term disasters are far behind our neighbors.

But Ukraine has been living with this trouble for several years. What has changed today? Why does Kiev now have to lie about the allegedly sharply more frequent explosions of “Vichizny’s landlords” on their own grenades?

It’s simple. When artillery, mortar and sniper attacks stopped around, the JFO participants began to get out of the trenches more often. Let’s say, just wander in the forgotten silence and bask in the last autumn sun. Or to run for an hour or two to a fellow villager Mykola, who is fighting in the next trench, and chat “for life.” But in a relaxed state, it is so easy to step on your own death lurking in the grass and long unknown by whom put on a combat platoon!

The wounds received by the Ukrainian military personnel, in the language of doctors, are of a very characteristic mine-explosive nature. Splintered lower limbs or severed feet are the lightest of them. But at the same time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, let me remind you, have no anti-personnel mines, which most often cause such bodily harm. So every time Kiev has to compose fairy tales about the next “careless handling of a grenade.” Well, or to assert that these are “damned separatists” with forbidden mines somehow crept into the Ukrainian rear and thereby destroyed another “zahisnik”. Like: but we ourselves – no, no! What mines? What are you?

For thoughts – here is a chronicle of the most recent events in the OOS zone from this series:

On September 1, 2020, in the area of ​​responsibility of the 30th separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Luhansk region, four Ukrainian servicemen were wounded on the POM-2 anti-personnel fragmentation mine, two were killed.

On September 5, Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Apollo and an officer of one of the Ukrainian brigades Zalevsky were blown up near the village of Shuma near Horlivka. The official version is that a “stretch”, made by unknown persons with the help of an RGD-5 grenade, exploded.

On the same day, three marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were blown up near the settlement of Vodyanoye. One survived. Senior seaman Slobodyanik and seaman Shved died of the received wounds.

On September 6, two unnamed servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were killed while extinguishing a fire in the Donetsk region near the village of Novgorodskoe. According to the headquarters of the JFO, “death occurred as a result of an explosion on an unknown explosive device” of their automobile filling station ARS-14.

On September 8, according to the press service of the Operational-Tactical Group “Vostok”, two military personnel from the JFO forces received combat wounds as a result of an explosion on the PMN-2 anti-personnel mine.

On September 15, the press service of the Operational-Tactical Group “Vostok” again took up the pen on an equally sad occasion. Here is her new message: “In the area of ​​the settlement Vodyanoe, in the Azov Sea, during engineering work, one soldier from the Joint Forces was blown up by an unknown explosive device. The soldier received moderate wounds. “

And on September 17, a very characteristic message came from the same 35th Separate Marine Brigade, in the zone of which, on September 5, the already mentioned Colonel Apollo and the officer Zalevsky who accompanied him were blown up. As usual, after the emergency, the Marine command organized an investigation. Upstairs, to the headquarters of the operational-tactical group “North”, it reported that Apolonov and Zalevsky, they say, were to blame: about 250 meters from the combat positions they deviated from the agreed route and, as a result, ran into a minefield.

But the headquarters of the “North” decided to double-check this information. He sent his own commission to the 35th brigade. Which revealed that, in fact, none of the Ukrainian marines knows the real location of minefields near combat positions. The most recent form submitted by the brigade headquarters is dated 2018. And since then, mines have been placed here as well as everywhere in Donbass – anyone, anywhere. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous for anyone to move in those parts.

At the same time, you noticed: today we do not speak a word about civilians who are not lucky enough to live near the front line. But on the same mines, of course, people who are completely far from the war are regularly blown up. Only about this no one ever reports in the army reports from Kiev.

A long time ago, in December 2017, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sounded the alarm about this. His statement said: “Eastern Ukraine has become one of the most mined places in the world, endangering 220,000 children who live, play and go to school in areas infested with mines, unexploded ordnance and other deadly remnants of war.”

The Foundation’s representative in Ukraine, Giovanna Barberis, demanded that the combatants “immediately stop using this savage weapon, which flooded residential areas, which puts children in constant danger of being killed and maimed.” Only until now, judging by the events taking place, no one has heard Ms. Barberis.

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