Report from the ATO Zone

By Olena Stepova, Luhansk blogger
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Izvaryne border checkpoint. Photo: © Anastasia Vlasova.

Izvaryne border checkpoint. Photo: © Anastasia Vlasova.

Report from the ATO zone: July 22, 2014 to July 23, 2014.
I will start with the most important: everyone is alive.
There has been no internet for a long time, electricity and telephone are intermittent. You would be able to recognize our people (the inhabitants of the gloomy border villages and settlements along the Izvaryne–Biryukove line) in Hell by their completely calm faces, our people would be disinterested there.

The fight started yesterday. We are saying it is nearby. We are the military experts now that we have been there. That means that automatic weapons, machine guns, and mortars are in operation in a zone of direct visibility (the nearest installations are 2.5 km away). The fight has gone along a line of villages: Oleksandrivka, Ananivka, the Sverdlov Coal Mine to the Dolzhanska station. According to the locals, “Something is running through my garden and shooting.” At 7 pm we heard the rumble of the column from the direction of Krasnodon. We immediately recognized the sense of moving our butts and took up initial positions in a ground-cellar.

Around 10:00 pm, the snout of the Devil looked down from the sky, opened his jaws and breathed: 12 volleys from a GRAD. They simply strafed our border. The town is untouched. I do not know about the villages. There was no telephone connection. It was hell.

Night: a red black sky and a glow over Biryukove and Dolzhanskiy. Something was burning in Kalininskyi and Khmelnytskyi. They were shooting from three or four places. Interestingly enough, at first there was a volley from our territory (a region of the Dolzhanskiy fruit grove) from a GRAD around Russia. Within an hour there was simply a storm of fire about the Chervonopartyzansk checkpoint, and the volleys just went along the line of the border to the Dolzhanskiy checkpoint across villages and mines. It was simply a line of fire. Something exploded and burned, and the sky was seemingly held up by black columns of smoke. The telephone went out as fast as the Internet did. Anyone who managed to get through did not just talk about the situation, but simply said their goodbyes–just in case.

Bricks were knocked out of the ground in some of the brick lined basements. Many came out of their basements, especially people who lived in Chervonopartyzansk. They said that it is better to see death and accept it straightaway rather than be buried in a basement. We do not know how and where our troops are positioned, we did not see them after they left Izvaryne and Chervonopartyzansk.

We see the army of Mordor, which is circling around us like a swarm of predators: vehicles from Krasnodon (GRADS) are driving towards us, then they go to Rovenky, and come back. Sometimes we get the feeling that they are just firing on the town from different positions. Why does the government not recognize that this is WAR??? This is not an ATO [anti-terrorist operation]. THIS IS WAR!

I do not want to tempt fate, but our village is intact and unharmed. We even stood in the street at night and watched as the gunfire came flying out from the direction of the village Vasetsk in the Russian Federation (it is not opposite our village, but a little to the left, in a field). There near a pond lives an old friend of ours who was able yesterday to call her daughter, who lives here, and tell her: “Daughter, there have pressed us with Katyusha rockets. They are looking at us.” People do not know how to describe GRADs, and they compare them with Katyushas. The night was stuffy and hot. We were frightened, but we knew that above us was a Prayer Shield and that you are praying for us. Your hands were shielding the sky above us. THANK YOU!

On July 21, 2014, Batman visited our town. He had a splendid arrival. Right into the center of the city. The Batman army (judging by its flag) came to us for refills, arriving for humanitarian “refuelling,” because there was no fuel in the neighboring towns. They squeezed fuel out of dozens of citizens’ cars at the same time. For some reason it says “expropriated” on the official website of the authorities. I think that local journalists have read their full of early Lenin and Marx. To expropriate from miners, pensioners, and businessmen, from bus drivers, and even from two women whom they kicked out of their car, somehow does not square up with the doctrine of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. I apologize if I’ve gotten anything wrong, but I am not very well up on my military abbreviations. But the black and red flag with a circle in which there is a bat made it just incomprehensible. If Batman does indeed exist, we might ask him to somehow engage his brain: unarmed women are working in the courthouse, and to shoot them with tanks and machine guns is not very gentlemanly. That’s it.

All glory to God, everyone is alive. They were very frightened, they selflessly blocked the door looking through the slit at the black hat of the representative of the bats. But before attacking the 2-month vacant SBU [Ukrainian state service] building, one could have learned from the city authorities that no one was there. A separate “merci” to the police. To tell us to go to the army headquarters of the southeast and the town militia regarding the attack on the courthouse is so like the police.

In the city, they are completely out of everything. Bread–gone! Courts–gone! Food–gone! Water–gone! Pensions–gone! Bank machines–gone! No cars bring food to the town, just like they do not make it to Luhansk. I do understand that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in our oblast. No one can call this an ATO, it is a war. And, since they were used to it already, they once again exchanged fire from two waste heaps, even though there are no national guard or anti aircraft weapons in town.

The border still lives its own life as before: someone comes (usually in a personal car or a jeep), someone leaves (usually irrigating the field and road with blood and on something heavy and large), someone shoots at someone else. It seems that the gloom is coming to live in Gukovo. There it rests, eats, spends the battle-won Russian rubles, talks with the family, and then comes to shoot, kill, rob and wage war. Before we used to be frightened of the Tatar hordes, now we are frightened of the Russians. The world has been turned upside down.

Source: Olena Stepova FB

This entry was posted in "Voices" in English, English, English News, Eyewitness stories, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Report from the ATO Zone

  1. Pingback: Report from the ATO Zone - Israel Foreign Affairs News

  2. helen holmes says:

    I am speechless but would ask anyone who knows how to get this into the hands of our so called world leaders, to do so. This MUST be circulated around the globe. Quickly. Please.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.