Nadiya Savchenko’s Book: “It’s a Strong Name, Hope.” #FreeSavchenko

Excerpts from the soon to be published book by Nadiya Savchenko: “It’s A Strong Name, Hope.” [Nadiya means ‘hope’ in Ukrainian, so the title is a play on her own name].

By Nadiya Savchenko, posted by Svyryd Opanasovych with thanks to Nadiya’s sister, Vira Savchenko
Posted 07.31.2015
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

[Editor’s note: In this post we are also told that the title of the book is: “I’m not saving any strength for the road back.” In the concluding post it returns to the above title.]

Dear Readers,

My apologies that this book is not written in a lofty style. But, as they say, “a word dropped out of a song makes it all wrong.” So I have written simply, conversationally.

Nadiya Savchenko

Chapter 1: IRAQ

I won’t write a war story about Iraq. Nowhere was there a record that we were going to war. We were going on a peacekeeping mission, because, that’s how it actually was; although later, we were issued papers that certified we participated in military operations… I will write about Iraq as I saw it.

After training, we were dressed in sand-colored camouflage, issued backpacks (an invader’s dream!), and loaded up with products of “public utility”: my backpack got stuffed with an extra 30 kg of electrolytes for electrical welding. :)

The backpack was as tall as I, and twice as heavy – 120 kg when I weighed it at the customs, against my 60kg. I carried it and loaded it myself. If ants can do this [carry enormous weight], why can’t humans?! :)

We shipped out from a military airfield in Mykolaiv, on an IL-76 military aircraft. I remember that country music was playing in the airport, and I danced to it. They issued us panama hats instead of caps, so I bent mine like a cowboy hat, and got to dancing. :) I sure cheered everyone up! :)

The flight took four hours. Wheels down. The ramp opens, and in rushes a glowing heat, as if from hell! But the trees, I thought, did not look too different from Ukrainian [trees]. :) The air everywhere was a heat haze.

The temperature was somewhere around +60°С [140°F]. At formation, the boys started to pass out. I somehow adapted quickly. In general, in my whole life I’ve only “glitched” once from the heat, namely, in Iraq. We drove in BTR’s [APCs-armored personnel carriers], I was the “owl” (the lookout, watching from the hatch of the BTR). The heat was terrible, and after so much eye strain, I thought I saw a red dog jumping at me from the middle of the hatch. I jumped! Smashed my head on the hatch (good thing I was wearing a helmet!), and almost pulled the trigger! Then I realized that I needed to cool down, and asked to be replaced. Other than that one time, I usually tolerate heat and cold pretty well.

They gave us weapons, flak jackets and helmets at the airport in Baghdad. Before Iraq, I shaved my head down to “number one,” realizing it would be impossible to do anything with my hair in the heat there. Most of the guys shaved their heads the same way. When I was receiving my weapons and I spoke to say my name, my female voice did not “go with” with my shaved head. :)

There were also Ukrainian military journalists there. And one of them asked, “What, they already take faggots into the army?” He did not realize that I’m a woman. Once they explained that to him, the journalists swarmed me immediately, to interview me as the only woman who came to Iraq to do a man’s job… That video is still somewhere on the internet…

We arrived at our base in the city of As Suwayrah, province of Wasit. The base was a standard American base, surrounded by concrete blocks and baskets of sand, 400 x 600 metres in size. It was a small transshipment base, not a big multicontinental one like the one in Al Kut, where our main brigade was stationed. It was set up on the former location of Saddam Hussein’s army military camp. We lived in the surviving, good-quality barracks. In general, in Iraq, everything is well-preserved because of the dry climate: the buildings, the asphalt roads you could roll an egg on; the only potholes are where the air bombs fell, but otherwise the roads are whole, and don’t run off in the rain like ours do in the snow. Not far from the base there was even a former military hospital, four floors underground and four above it. It was pretty smashed up during the air raids on Iraq. It’s a pity, obviously – their medical care was at a pretty high level. In general, my impressions from Iraq remain a series of still images.

Nadiya suiting up at base camp in Iraq. Still from Ministry of Defense military video.

Nadiya suiting up at base camp in Iraq. Still from Ministry of Defense military video.

One can spend a long time describing the character and customs of the East. But I think that all educated people are somewhat familiar with them, and there is no shortage of information about the culture of different peoples of the world… So I’ll try to tell it in brief, using facts from my own life.

This is a beautiful, very fertile land. If you work hard on it, it will give you three harvests a year! You can grow almost anything there! But you have to work hard! Physical work, in the Muslim mentality, is women’s work! :) That’s why they get married at age 13, and at 20, they look already 40-50 years old… The women are physically very strong and durable, and the men, conversely, are weak, but it’s the men who are beating the women and not vice versa…

Alongside our base, there lived a family. The women went to the aryk (water canal) to carry water in large water basins and barrels. One day, I approached them to get to know them. I was allowed to approach them because I am also a woman. We talked using English, Arabic, and gestures. I tried to lift one of their bowls of water and wasn’t able to lift it, even though I’m not a weak woman! But they, against gravity, set that weight on their head and carry it!!! When we came to visit them another time, I was permitted to sit with the men at the table and smoke hookah with them (because I am not quite a woman :) but a warrior, after all!). I arm-wrestled their men and won. That was the time I fully realized the differences in strength between men and women of the East…

But a woman’s life in Iraq is not worth much… To get married – the bride-price is $2,500. The younger the girl, the less educated, best of all with no schooling at all, the more expensive she is. The older and smarter [she is] – the price falls immediately. The price for a dead woman is two rams. A ram cost $70 back then. One time, a girl was killed by our APC in a traffic accident. The Commander paid the father $200, and the incident was settled. If they had killed a boy, there would have been a blood vendetta… That is the difference in the price of life of people of different sexes in the East.

Iraq has extraordinarily beautiful soil! Oily, red clay, with a distinctive warm hue. It’s a natural building material, right underfoot, so anyone there can easily stick a dugout together. You can live in it until it starts raining. And in the rainy season, even we were knee deep in clay, and our armored vehicles sank wheel-deep!

Convoy. Image from Ukrainian Troops in Iraq video.

Convoy. Image: still from “Ukrainian Troops in Iraq” video.

There is quite a bit of vegetation there, especially in the riverbeds. So there was plenty of dangerous “greenery,” from which we got shot at… The vegetation is varied: [there are] palm trees and bushes, even some kind of flowers. The temperature drop is big: in the summer, it’s +75°C (+55) during the day, and at night it’s +35°C, which already seems cool. :) In the winter,, it’s +35°С (+25) during the day, +15°С (0) at night, and that’s enough to start freezing and pulling on your pea jacket (and at first, when they were giving us pea jackets, I’d thought what do we need them for in Iraq).

Still from "Ukrainian Troops in Iraq" video.

Still from “Ukrainian Troops in Iraq” video.

The sky at sunrise and sunset is orange, almost burning up! During the day, a cloud will rarely fly by, the sky is bright, clean, blue, and the sun at its zenith is sizzling hot! Night there comes suddenly. It’s light, it’s light and then – gone! Like someone switched off a lightbulb. Then, in about half an hour, maybe 40 minutes, it becomes pitch black! The Arabs knew this trick of their dark nights well, which is why they sold us flashlights and lighters with backlights, and then when we used them to find our way around the base, those flashlights and blinkers gave off pillars of light, like a laser show! So much for base blackout! We couldn’t give a better pointer to the “Ali Babas” (as the Taliban-terrorists were called there) if we tried! So they shot at the base… Later, we got wiser… We got used to the base, and our eyes also adapted to the dark nights, and by then we groped around without “torches.” We are no dummies!

The stars appeared in the sky gradually, and the sky would become so very starry, you could see as if by day! It always surprised me, this feature of the Iraqi sky … :)

You could see the Big and the Little Dipper there, only from a different perspective and at a different angle. But most of Iraq is, nonetheless, a desert, though a fertile one. There are frequent droughts and constant dust in the face, but once there was a real sandstorm! It was a spectacular sight when it was approaching! Like a tall sea wave of terracotta color! Just a wall of sand and clay, moving in on you! And the sky starts turning the color of the ground. We were told to hide in the barracks. I was on the tower on the roof at the time. And I could not take my eyes away from the fury of the elements! [I watched] till I was no longer able to breathe for the sand! Then I went down to the barracks and spent a long time spitting and cleaning the automatic [gun].But I do not regret it! When else would I see a miracle like that! In general, I enjoyed watching the nature of Iraq, this strange, not very understandable Eastern country.

Still from the "Ukrainian Troops in Iraq" video

Still from the “Ukrainian Troops in Iraq” video

The land there, in addition to being fertile and beautiful, is also rich … Oil rich!

I was very surprised when I first saw the puddles on the ground – not from the rain, but from oil … Fatty, oily stains, that seep straight out of the ground … And oil always means money … And money always means war… So the wealth of this land also destroys it… Just as right now, the wealth and favorable geographical position of our land is killing Ukraine…

To paint a general picture of Iraq, it is a country after a war and devastation, or more precisely, a country where war will never end… It is a fall of morals, dirt, poverty, grief for some, profit for others… But life still goes on and keeps moving … But, to conclude my “lyrical poetry” and “landscape painting,” Iraq for us was just a job. So I will continue speaking about Iraq as I would about work, and will continue to “dispel the myths” about myself…

To describe it honestly and simply, it looked something like this: the USA imported democracy into Iraq, and in exchange exported oil. They drove it out in eighteen-wheelers, 40-ton tanker trucks, 40 vehicles per convoy. From that number, the Arabs would knock out 6-7 vehicles from grenade launchers, on every trip. The convoy would fly through such shelling zones without stopping, for when an oil truck has been hit, there is nothing and no-one left to rescue …

US Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) Marines (left) assigned to Kilo/Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment (Kilo 3/23), 4th Marine Division, aboard a High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and Ukrainian Army Soldiers aboard BRT-80A (8x8) armored personnel carriers (APC), travel along a highway from Al Kut to As Suwayrah, Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Photo source.

US Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) Marines (left) assigned to Kilo/Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment (Kilo 3/23), 4th Marine Division, aboard a High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and Ukrainian Army Soldiers aboard BRT-80A (8×8) armored personnel carriers (APC), travel along a highway from Al Kut to As Suwayrah, Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Photo source.

The mission of the intercontinental peacekeeping coalition was to ensure the convoys’ free passage through the Iraq provinces. To do this, control over the provinces was divided as follows: the more oil-rich provinces were controlled by the US and English troops , the more agrarian provinces (such as Wasit), by Ukrainians, Poles, Salvadorans, Estonians. The task was to maintain order in the province, to prevent terrorism from developing, to make sure there was no concentration of weapons and clustering of “Ali Baba” cells, to put checkposts on the road to ensure passage of the convoys, and of course, to help local people develop democracy, to distribute humanitarian aid, to build schools, and to assist local people in conducting democratic elections.

Anyone with a mind can easily observe that all invasions of one state into another start about the same: coalition means occupation, and peacekeeping is a good cover slogan for the coalition. Russia did the same thing, and in the same sequence, in Crimea, and it is trying to do it again in Donbas!

Further events unfolded as follows: democracy required fair and transparent elections. Elections needed polling stations, and the best fit for those were schools, [and building schools] also meant patronage for the future. The once existing schools were destroyed during past airstrikes. To build schools, the US allocated a “briefcase” of money per province. I do not know how it was in other military contingents, but in the Ukrainian one, it went down like this: the command took half of the “briefcase” (later, half of what they kept for themselves, which was $300,000, they tried to smuggle to Ukraine inside the coffin of a colonel who died of a heart attack in Iraq. That actually happened!). The other half they gave to the sheikhs (elders and rulers recognized by the people), agreeing with them about building schools and preparing for democratic elections of a legitimate authority, in the form of a mayor (the sheikhs were an illegal self-elected power! That’s why there are always two authorities in Iraq – one that was put there (appointed), and one chosen according to the laws of the Muslim world. One must be able to stay friends with both). The sheikhs took the money and promised schools… In turn, they also “halfed” the money: half went to build schools and create workplaces, and the other half was spent on weapons used to blow up the same school during the elections… Of the 9 schools that were built in the Wasit province, 4 were blown up!

That was how we lived then… that was our job… So try telling me that the world hasn’t gone mad?! On the global scale of common sense and justice, these things are absurd, and this situation allowed everyone to make a living. And if the war never ends, it mus be beneficial for all!!!

That was a general overview of the situation. Now, this is how it was from day to day:

Ukrainian base in Iraq. Still from video "Nadiya"

Ukrainian base in Iraq. Still from video “Nadiya

The base I have already described. All bases in Iraq were in the same mould. In large cities, where civilization is preserved, such as Baghdad, Babylon, Al-Kūt and others, there were large multi-coalition bases. We rarely went there, but visited when there were convoy missions. Otherwise, small shipments bases such as ours were scattered across the provinces. “Wild people” was what soldiers from the large bases called us. :)

We really were different from them – wilder, in more worn and beat up uniforms, with a lower level of culture, and the greed in our eyes when we were able to get to the assortment in American stores! Our people would grab everything! Especially appliances! The same happened in the canteens, because the selection of food there was greater than at our base. Frankly speaking, that kind of behavior was disgusting to watch! That was also, in part, the result of living in a closed base, with 400 people who see only each other every day. You wake up in the morning, and instead of “good morning” you just want to say “f-off” to one another. :) At larger bases, they had armies from different countries, so there was at least some sharing of experience…

Because of this “culture” of ours, incidents happened sometimes. One day, our “gentlemen” decided to help a US Army sergeant (a beautiful petite mulatto woman) carry a machine gun. :) There would have been an international sexual harassment scandal, had it not been explained in time that we are just from the “Ukrainian Army.” Later, our guys saw the same “girl Sergeant” chewing out a huge bloke, a US Army soldier, for some screw-up, and him dutifully taking orders from a ” broad.” Our guys choked on that for a long time after! :) Yes, the difference in the mentalities of the people of the world is huge…

Americans, Salvadorans, Poles, and Estonians used to drop by our base – not frenquently, but a couple of times – and it was interesting to talk with them. Once, an American convoy stayed overnight. They set up camp in the middle of the base. There were two women in their unit – a “Hum-vee” driver and a mechanic. Our commanders insisted that the women sleep in the medical units with our gals. The American commander was very surprised – why shouldn’t the unit bunk together? But he gave in, so as not to argue with idiots… Later, he came by and told the girls that they had night watch at the unit’s place of deployment, so they spent the night walking around the tents in the rain, even though one of them had a birthday that day, and we had just cracked open a bottle of “Baileys”… That’s how it is! Over there [in the US Army], a soldier is a soldier! Maybe if our f-tards hadn’t tried to impose our “regulations” on a foreign army, those girls would have had a good night’s sleep!

All bases had American logistical support. They have a firm called KBR. Their motto is “We go where the army goes!” They hire civilians and pay them very good money ($100k USD per year) to work in “hot spots.” They provide everything! Construction, dining rooms, delivery of fuels and lubricants, basically everything that’s needed for daily life! And they take care of everything perfectly! They hire cooks and construction workers builders from different countries! For example, our cooks were from Bangladesh. The cleaners, sewage workers and handymen were hired locally. Payment was different for everyone, according to their contract and depending on the standard of living in their country.

Ukrainian base in Iraq. Still from the movie "Nadiya"

Ukrainian base in Iraq. Still from the movie “Nadiya

The soldier has one task, to fight! Not walk around collecting cigarette butts! Sometimes, [the task was] to escort a supply convoy, for security. That was the best military logistics structure that I have ever seen. The base was provided with everything! Even hot water, when the air temperature was 75°C! But our assholes also dragged their own logistics supplies there, with disgraceful field kitchens and washbasins, and a whole staff of freeloaders! Well, why not? You’ve got to launder the money somehow! The US paid for every unit and piece of equipment, so our guys dragged all kinds of crap there! Even if it weren’t operational! Who cared? As long as they got the money, and whatever was needed – KBR would provide!!! Typical for us!

The US also paid a flat rate per day for a live combat unit (a soldier, General – they didn’t care!). That came to $6,000 a month. Then the authorities of each country evaluated the life of one person at their discretion: a US Army soldier was paid $3,000, a General,– $6,000. In our case [in the Ukrainian army], a Private received $670, and a Colonel,– $2,500. How’s that for a comparison?

Ukrainian authorities valued their own General the same as the US valued a Private, and the life of a Private no more than the life of an Arab woman …

The wages in the Ukrainian contingent were the lowest. Where the rest of the funds went to, one can only guess. An army that earns big money from missions could easily re-equip itself and dress all in new [uniforms]! But instead [we] waltz around bare-assed! This continues even to the present day, when Ukraine is at war! Our would-be-warriors continue carrying out peacekeeping missions in Africa, and in many other places… I don’t even know whom to ask, “What the hell?!” Our “warriors” are fleeing there from their direct duty to protect their people! To fill their own pockets and those of for corrupt generals and bureaucrats?! While people are being mobilized!!! To whom do I even ask this question?! Whom?! Myself, maybe! I’m a member of the Commission on the Security of Ukraine and an MP! Oh, just let me get out of prison, and let me at those sons of bitches!

(To be continued)

Source: Svyryd Opanasovych FB

Posted in "Voices" in English, English, English News, Eyewitness stories, Pictures, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 8.27 #FreeSavchenko

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Over the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist troops in the conflict zone in Donbas continued actively shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops, using small arms (practically along the entire demarcation line) as well as 122 mm and 152 mm artillery, armored vehicles, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars; the use of MLRS was also recorded.

In particular, in the Donetsk sector, terrorists made multiple strikes from 120 mm and 82 mm mortars on the advanced ATO forces’ positions in the area of Opytne – Vodyane, south and northeast of Avdiivka, and in the vicinity of Pisky. Near the settlement of Mar’inka, militants employed 152 mm artillery and 120 mm mortars; over the past 24 hours, terrorists in this area also actively used AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers and 82 mm mortars, which were used for brief fire strikes and then moved along the front line.

In the area of Lozove, Krasnohorivka, Pisky, Starohnativka, Prokhorivka, and Orlivske, the enemy used 152 mm artillery on multiple occasions. Eight 152 mm shells were detonated in the residential sector of Krasnohorivka.

On the Troitske – Novhorodske – Shumy stretch, the enemy opened fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops using 120 mm mortars.

Terrorists stationed in the areas between Druzhba and Zaitseve, and Zaitseve – Dacha, carried out sporadic mortar and artillery fire in the direction of Kurdyumivka. In these areas, militants use mortars of the two main calibers – 82 mm and 120 mm. A militant self-propelled artillery unit (10-12 units of “Gvozdika” 2S1 self-propelled 12 mm artillery) was observed maneuvering along the front north of Horlivka.

In the vicinity of Popasna, Katerynivka, and Zaitseve, the enemy is active in the first line, employing AGS-17 grenade launchers and 120 mm mortars (3 fire groups with mortars operating from the “greenery”). Militant sabotage and reconnaissance groups were also recorded in this area.

Near Novotoshkivka, Krymske, and Shchastya, the enemy carried out continuous shelling from mortars, mobile ZU-23-2 artillery units, and AGS-17 grenade launchers. Militants also used Grad-P 9P132 reactive artillery systems. Similar terrorist activity was observed in the vicinity of Stanytsia Luhanska, where a new reinforced insurgent battalion has been transferred to the front.

In the coastal areas, the enemy is particularly active, employing the whole range of heavy weaponry to shell the ATO forces’ positions: 122 mm and 152 mm artillery, armored vehicles, 120 mm mortars, and MLRS. Enemy artillery positions (a total of 8 batteries) are located in the vicinity of Oktyabr, Kominternove, and Sakhanka. As the IR group reported earlier, these artillery units are combined into three artillery groups operating in this direction.

Ukrainian soldier at the firing position. Photo by Karpatska Sich

Ukrainian soldier at the firing position. Photo by Karpatska Sich

During the past 24 hours, terrorist armored vehicles were active on the front line:

– several groups of armored combat vehicles (a total of six BMP-2 armored infantry vehicles and five BTR-80 armored personnel carriers) covertly advanced to the front line in the vicinity of Krymske and Novotoshkivka. Over the past 24 hours, AFVs opened fire from the neutral zone several times on the ATO forces’ strongholds, using 30-mm automatic weapons;

– north of Avdiivka, a solitary militant tank opened fire from a camouflaged firing position in the “greenery”;

– north of Hranitne, in the area reaching as far as Starohnativka, two groups of militant tanks and armored combat vehicles are operating (total of 5 tanks and 11 ACVs). They attempted to conduct en masse shelling on the advanced ATO positions using the on-board weapons of armored vehicles;

– in the area of the Svitlodarsk bridgehead (southeast of Luhanske and Myronivske), a terrorist tank platoon was observed in the first line, carrying out “harassing” shelling under cover of dense mortar fire;

– a terrorist tank unit (8 tanks, up to a company in strength) is operating northwest of Stanytsia Luhanska. During the past 24 hours, three tanks from this unit were used to deliver concentrated fire strikes on the front edge of the ATO forces;

– in the vicinity of Sakhanka and Bezymenna, an incomplete militant tank battalion is operating, using one company at a time. From time to time, 3-4 tanks advance to the front line, as far as the neutral zone, and deliver precision fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops.

Southeast of Krasnohorivka, four terrorist tanks were spotted in the first line, spread out and camouflaged in the civilian residential areas.

Rotation of militant infantry units was observed on the Lozove – Krasnohorivka – Mar’inka stretch. Rotation is carried out by using militant units (mainly Russian mercenaries, with notably low levels of training) transferred to the Petrovskyi district of Donetsk.

The enemy transferred an additional infantry unit on board of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers to the area of Telmanove.

The “LNR” [Luhansk People’s Republic] instituted emergency fuel-saving measures in militant units. Any movement of equipment not related to “combat missions” (on personal errands) is strictly forbidden, under threat of harsh punishment. In the rear areas, the “commandant’s office” is in charge of controlling vehicle movement, while at the front, the gang commanders are responsible for that.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

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Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 8.26 #FreeSavchenko

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Russian-terrorist troops in Donbas continue to be active, flouting the Minsk agreements and firing on the ATO forces’ positions and civilian objects (incl. with the use of heavy weapons). Enemy sabotage and reconnaissance activity was also observed in a number of sectors.

On the Opytne-Vodyane stretch, militants opened fire twice from 120 mm mortars. Ukrainian troop positions northeast of the settlement of Pisky came under fire from a wide range of weapons (from 122 mm artillery to small arms). The ATO forces’ positions in the area between Nevelske and Krasnohorivka were shelled with 152 mm artillery, as were those located south of Krasnohorivka railway station and near the settlement of Troitske. In the Avdiivka and Mar’inka areas, the stretch between Novohryhorivka and Hranitne, and in the vicinity of Hranitne itself, terrorists fired on Ukrainian troop positions using 122 mm artillery and 120 mm mortars. During the night, enemy armored vehicles were observed advancing to the front line near the settlement of Hranitne (two tanks, each firing about ten 125 mm shells on the ATO forces’ positions). To the north, near Novolaspa, the enemy was observed repeatedly opening fire with the on-board weapons of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers.

Over the past 24 hours, militants operating in the coastal regions continued artillery and mortar shelling, alternated with attempts to engage the advanced positions of the ATO forces using small infantry groups operating from the “neutral zone.” The Russian-terrorist forces’ command has made numerous attempts to establish continuous cooperation between militant infantry and artillery operating in this area.

Ukrainian military servicemen, on a break between firefights. Photo: Noah Brooks

Ukrainian military servicemen, on a break between firefights. Photo: Noah Brooks

At present, identified in the coastal regions are a total of three terrorist artillery groups, including a total of eight 122 mm and 152 mm gun batteries. One artillery group is positioned near the village of Oktyabr, the second, near Kominternove, and the third, southeast of Sakhanka. The enemy mainly uses 122 mm caliber cannon artillery (five gun batteries in this artillery group), occasionally 152 mm caliber guns (three gun batteries). Militants also constantly fired from 82 mm and 120 mm mortars and AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers.

The enemy’s primary artillery targets in this area are the ATO forces’ supply centers and routes, as well as control and command points scouted out by militants. Strikes were mainly made in the area of the M14 highway and on the ATO forces’ advanced positions northwest of Shyrokyne. Militant artillery strikes were also observed on targets and positions near the settlements of Sopyne, Berdyanske, Lomakyne, Talakivka and Lebedynske.

Terrorists in the Svitlodarsk bridgehead area (near the settlements of Novoluhanske, Svitlodarsk, and Luhanske) employed 152 mm artillery during the past 24 hours. The militants’ artillery units are positioned inside the Yenakijeve – Vuhlehirsk – Bulavynske “triangle.” The enemy in this sector also resorted to the “traditional” tanks+mortars tactic.

The ATO forces’ positions near the settlements of Krymske and Novotoshkivka were shelled from mortars and AGS-17 grenade launchers; while their positions near the settlement of Schastya and north of Stanytsia Luhanska came under fire from tanks and BMP infantry fighting vehicles.

In the vicinity of Popasna, Katerynivka, Stepne and Orikhove, the enemy employed several mortar squads simultaneously (a total of eight 120 mm and twelve 82 mm mortar weapons).

“Kitty-Cat” – a weapon of a Ukrainian military servicemen. Source: Karpatska Sich

A sharp increase in militant activity has been noted in Donetsk. Over the past few days, a further 1,500 personnel have been transferred there from the “second echelons.” These are mainly mercenaries with Russian citizenship. A battery of 203 mm 2S7 “Pion” self-propelled guns (five units) has arrived in the Kyivs’kyi district of Donetsk. Some fifteen fuel-tanker trucks have also arrived in Donetsk, and three T-80 tanks have been delivered from Russia on trailers.

A militant motorized infantry battalion, reinforced with two tank companies, has been transferred to the vicinity of Yenakijeve and Vuhlehirsk: twenty BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, nine BTR-70 and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers (including at least four BTR-80A), and six tanks arrived near Yenakijeve; ten tanks (mainly T-72BA, and two or three T-64BV) entered Vuhlehirsk, following the earlier arrival of twelve other armored fighting vehicles (mainly MT-LB multi-transporter trucks, and BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles).

Militants of the “LNR” [Luhansk People’s Republic] continue pulling up armored vehicles and weaponry to the salient between the settlements of Schastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. Deployment of yet another terrorist unit – a reinforced composite motorized infantry battalion with artillery – has been observed in the area of Krasnyi Yar, Pankivka, Hlynyane, Vesela Hora, Obozne, Pryvitne and Khrystove. In total, the weaponry located in the area of the salient includes fifteen tanks, thirty-four armoured fighting vehicles (BMP-1, BMP-2, BTR-70, -80, -80A, -82A, and BPM-97 “Vystrel” armored vehicles, MT-LB multi-purpose transporters, BRDM-2 reconnaissance and scouting vehicles), plus an artillery group (three batteries, comprising six 122 mm D-30 guns, eight 122 mm “Gvozdika” SAU 2S1 self-propelled guns, and eight 122 mm “Grad” BM-21 MLRS).

Intensified “mobilization measures”remain in force in the “LNR” and “DNR” [Donetsk People’s Republic]. Young people are leaving Debaltseve and Vuhlehirsk en masse to avoid “mobilization” (numerous cases of “forced mobilization,” including under threat of execution, have been reported). On the Russian side of the border, men younger than 50 are no longer allowed to enter Russia.

Up to 500 men from the Russian Federation have been transferred to Luhansk. These militants underwent training at the training center of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Rostov-on-Don (Russian Federation). The majority of them are graduates of “sabotage courses.”The arriving Russians are disguised as “Cossacks,” wearing fur hats, trousers with piping, etc.

A column of armoured vehicles (15 tanks, 28 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers) arrived from Russia via Krasnodon. Mobile phone communications were jammed while the column was passing through the area.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

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The Music of Warriors project: Thunderstruck. #FreeSavchenko

By Oleksander Tkachuk, founder, “Music of Warriors” project
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

The “Music of Warriors” resumes with a violin performance by Lviv resident Teresa Catarina, a talented musician in Lviv’s Cantabile Orchestra and a member of the Right Sector who has been playing violin for 4 years.

Teresa plays “Thunderstruck,” a known composition by the legendary Australian rock band AC/DC, which has always been a companion for tough guys. Teresa’s violin cover of the song is dedicated to her love, a member of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corp (DUK), call sign “Hospitaller.”

Source: Music of Warriors FB

Oleksander Tkachuk

Oleksander Tkachuk

The Music of Warriors patriotic art project is “one of the checkpoints on the Ukrainian cultural front” according to founder Oleksander Tkachuk. Tkachuk says he “aims to prove that music is also a weapon. A musician is a warrior – the musical instrument is a weapon in his/her hands. They do not kill with music – but rather, give a chance for life and hope, for the better.”

Read and hear more about “Music of Warriors”:


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Flowers of chocolate and wool. #FreeSavchenko

By Sasha Lirnyk
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

I wanted to write again about the “brothers-kryssiyans” [‘Russian rats’], but I thought – why talk about crap right before Independence Day [August 24th]? Therefore, I will write about the good.

Darwin was a damn goof mistaken.

Don’t believe me? Well, think about it logically. If, according to his theory, only the strongest survived, then life on Earth would have ended long ago.

Some super-duper predator, way back a million years ago, would have gobbled up the last vice-super-duper predator, who, in turn, would have consumed all the others by then. Then [the super-duper predator] would have remained alone and starved to death.

Well, that was a primitive preamble to my main idea.

And my idea goes something like this.

If only devastating and destructive forces had been winning and surviving, then life in general and civilization in particular would be long gone. Life, in itself, is a living organism the size of the universe. Now imagine that some part of the body turns on another part and completely destroys it. What will happen to the body? That’s right – it eventually dies from sepsis.

I do not know the exact location of the secret fail-safe that stops unmotivated aggression and self-destruction in nature. Darwin does not mention it. But it definitely exists.

And it’s not the strongest or the most predatory ones who survive, but those who help one another. Those who create beauty, not those who destroy it.

And even though those are few, one righteous man is worth more than a million rapists, torturers and killers.

He is the one who leads humankind, and not they.

Otherwise our entire humankind would have already been raped, tortured and killed.

When Armenians were fleeing the genocide, they brought with them not gold and jewels, but books that they used to teach their children.

One Jeanne, the little La Pucelle [i.e. Joan of Arc], did more than all the knights of occupied France combined.

One Polonaise of Oginski’s did more than all the rebellions of war-torn Poland.

One Kobzar did more than all of the national liberation movements of anguished Ukraine.

People are united not by a king, not by an army, but by the beauty they find in their folk culture, traditions and mentality.

That tiny thing, that is dear to their heart, and rests deep in their soul.

In the last moments of life, the evilest of emperors, the most terrifying of conquerors recalls not his greatest triumphs, not mountains of gold, not the worship of people – but the times when he ran to his mother so she could kiss his hurt finger better, and the times when his father tossed him up into the air, laughing the best laugh in the world.

It’s no wonder that, in every era, conquerors and occupiers would, first of all, burn books and destroy artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and teachers – the Righteous Men who led the nation, ones who were stronger and more important than the army and the golden treasury of the seized country.

Recently, fate took me through the town of Smile [Ukraine, pronounced Smee-leh]. I stopped to have a coffee.

A young woman prepared a latté for me. Before giving me the cup, she pulled out a tiny bottle and, almost magically, drew a beautiful chocolate flower on the white foam. Then, using a toothpick, she fixed up the petals, and handed me this miracle, too beautiful to drink.

I asked her, surprised, is that something they teach coffee sellers to do, to boost demand?

And she said no, she does it because she wants to. To make things more beautiful, to brighten up someone’s day.

I was filled with warmth, not from the coffee, but from the touch of Greatness.

To this day, I cannot get over that feeling, and keep it safe in my soul.

These are the flowers that bloom in the soul of our people.

In the toughest of times, during wars and famine, women had no embroidery yarn, and embroidered mens’ shirts with simple wool instead. So if you see a shirt with a flower embroidered in red wool, know that this shirt was made with the purest of love. Pure like the kiss on a child’s hurt finger. Pure like hollyhock [growing] beneath the windowsill.

Everyone knows that if somewhere in the boundless territories of wild Katsapstan [Russia], you see flowers growing in someone’s yard, instead of the usual weeds, that means Ukrainians live there.

In Ukraine, the villages used to have no locks. When leaving for work, people would simply prop the door up with a stick. To keep the chickens out. [Inside,] on the table, there was always milk and bread, covered with a towel. A traveler could go into any house, have some food and drink. Then thank the house, wipe his face and hands on the towel, prop the door closed with the stick again, and be on his way. Today, they just put some apples and plums – whatever has had a good yield – straight out on the street. Help yourselves, travelers!

“Help yourselves!” in Kosiv, Ukraine.

These are flowers of the soul, with the smell of milk, bread, and apples.

I once saw a “Kobzar” [book by Ukrainian national poet/painter Taras Shevchenko] which had been buried in the ground, to hide it away from katsap [Russian] Commissars. The book was rotted from the damp, but every page, every patch that survived, had been sewn to scraps of the canvas with thread, to stop it from crumbling. There could never be a better and more beautiful embroidery in the world. Words can also be flowers.

In reality, Maidan did not start when we walked out onto the main square of our country. It started that fierce winter when cars were snowed in on the roads, and people were freezing in them. And thousands of Kyivans, in their [Porsche] Cayennes and [Daewoo] Lanos’, rushed to save them, pull them out, dig them out of the snow, warm them up and feed them, never minding the danger and the cold.

That winter, the flowers of the people’s soul blossomed on the snow. Invisible, but beautiful. With the smell of gasoline, sandwiches, and hot tea.

The future does not belong to armies and wars, capitals and occupiers.

The future belongs to the girl that draws flowers because her soul wants it.

The future belongs to those gamers who left games of “Stalker” on their monitors, and rushed to defend the flaming barricades.

Without breaking a single window or a single car. And who, in the intervals between battles, were reading books on philosophy and art history.

It belongs to moms who kiss their child’s finger, and sing them “kittycat-kittycat.”

And to dads who bring cake “from the Bunny.”

The future belongs to those who have the flower of their people in their heart.

Maybe you cannot see it, but it will bloom when the time is right.

I know this.

And Darwin – [is] a goof.

P.S. I got many messages from Ukrainian biologists, explaining why Darwin was not a goof. I considered their words, and agreed with them.

My statement is – Darwin is a great scientist, and a clever person. May I be forgiven.

This is also a flower.

A flower of intelligence, agreement, and unity.

Source: Sasha Lirnyk,


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