While delivering dugouts to the fighters of the 93th Separate Airborne Brigade, we had the opportunity to communicate with other military units that came to see what it is about our bunkers that allows them to withstand heavy shelling.
While the materials to construct the dugouts were being unloaded, the guys shared with us their thoughts about the leadership of the army and errors made by the brigade commander. The brigade suffered heavy losses at the strategic point “Zenit” overlooking Donetsk Airport about a month ago. The investigation into those losses is ongoing, and the results of which we are unlikely to get broad access to. We can rely on the testimony of the guys on the ground. And they say a crucial factor in those losses was a lack of places to take cover. A soldier takes up the story.
“The army is now living hope in that new people come. Mobilized officers. There are people who just came to serve their term, and there are those who want to do actually something. And those who want to do something, they’re active and they (those serving their term) are passive – they are contractors and personnel officers.
But a lot of people do not understand what to do in the army. This affects both the military and civilians. People who know they are not doing enough. And usually they just go through the motions and stay in the shadows, because everyone wants to live. And with such incompetent management they simply do not see the ultimate goal,” he said.
“For example, one case occurred two weeks ago – about eight dead fighters at ‘Zenit’. We certainly do not know all information, but due to their experience we can draw conclusions. It was a stronghold – ‘Zenit’. But they had no shelters. They were performing their tasks around mined roads – it must be done carefully. From ‘Zenit’ to the old airport terminal is a plantation of trees, there the paratroopers observation post is based. When they came out asking for support fire our commanders started screaming, junior – who said you can go there? You don’t lead the team… And when there are these issues under fire, he begins to speak back at the commander – you are out-of-control, inadequate…
So due to the fact the group had no cover, they became living targets. These are not men who hid in the grass, they were sitting ducks, who could be targeted and shot. A shell fell and they were wiped out…
From incidents like this (without supporting fire) we need protection, to put in shelters. In terms of giving commands or warning to the crew – we had zero opportunities. There was no connection – our radio was jammed.”
The project, People’s Blindage is ongoing with the goal of providing quality shelters in the hope situations like that outlined by the soldier above can be avoided.
In the course of delivery we shot a video message (in Ukrainian) from the fighters of the 93rd separate airborne brigade thanking all who contributed to the project, full reports on income and expenditure are also available on the site.