The following article is an unabridged translation of a wounded Russian tanksman’s account of his fighting in Ukraine (graphic image inside!), written by Novaya Gazeta’s reporter Elena Kostychenko. A first evaluation by The Interpreter may be found here.
Dorzhi Batomkunuev, 20 years old, 5th separate tank brigade (Ulan-Ude), military unit No 46108. Drafted on November 25, 2013, in June 2014 signed a three-year contract. Individual number 200220, military ID No 2609999.
His face is burnt and bandaged, blood seeps from under the bandage. His hands are bandaged as well. His ears are burnt and shrunken.
I know he was wounded in Lohvynove. Lohvynove – the bottleneck of the Debaltseve pocket – was cleared and secured in the early morning of February 9 by a DPR special forces company (90% of which were Russian organized volunteers). The pocket was closed so fast that Ukrainian soldiers in Debaltseve didn’t know that. In the next few hours the troops of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic burned cars running from Debaltseve with impunity. This is how a deputy ATO head was killed.
The special forces fell back, replaced by rebel cossacks that were then shelled by Ukrainian artillery. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops started preparing a breakthrough. A Russian tank battalion was sent to hold the position, after staying in Donetsk for several days before.
We are talking in Donetsk, in a burn treatment center at a local hospital. READ MORE
PS: the article published in Novaya Gazeta was viewed 1.2 million times so far.