Valeriya Dubarova, May 29th
Mourning continues in Volyn Oblast for the soldiers fallen during the ATO. At the polygon near Rivne, a vigil was held on Monday, and the men were buried the next day. The youngest of the fallen was 18 years of age.
Father of four, Andriy Koshchuk was one of the first to answer the call of the military commissariat. He thought that if Russian aggression in the East is not stopped, later his 16-year-old son would have to go to war.
Andriy Koshchuk was shot while driving, when he was calling his wife. The woman understood it after speaking with Andriy’s companions, as she was worried that he had not woken her up, as usual, with a phone call in the morning.
Neither the volunteers, nor the conscription soldier would not have imagined a month ago that they would become enemy targets. Mikola Bondaruk’s mother hoped until the last moment that a mistake had been made and that her son was alive. She only believed it when she saw the casket. Now she is once more remembering her son’s words: “They think that we are the occupants…”
“It was a gift to Putin – here you go, shoot some ‘Banderites’!” the mothers and widows of the deceased say with bitter sarcasm. And they say that their sons, when joining the army, the conscription soldiers and volunteers, hoped to secure the borders with Belarus and Poland, which border Volyn. The families of the fallen think the hotspots should have been protected by better trained soldiers.
At the Roadblock Without Ammunition
The compatriots of the deceased are convinced that their sons and husbands were not equipped accordingly. And the special clothing bought by the community was simply not delivered. “Where are the bulletproof vests and helmets?” the Volyn women asked the officers at the polygon. The latter only shrugged.
“Our son-in-law asked for a week – buy food to cook – we sent it to him; we bought uniform – we sent it to them; he asked us: we need bulletproof vests and a helmet – we ordered, I have no idea in which Oblast. We were told USD350 – we bought them for USD350. He was worried for his troop. We bought flip-flops, because they were barefoot,” tells a family member of Olexandr Artymuk, killed by the mercenaries. She says: in the family, everyone is a patriot, ready to protect, Ukraine, however the state also has to care for the protectors.
“We had to act ourselves earlier, and not expect them to be protected, that they would be given weapons, that they would be given bulletproof vests,” thinks Nataliya Ovcharuk, sister of a deceased Khmelnitsk citizen Volodymyr Ovcharuk.
“We send so much, so many chip in – and there is nothing. We have sent millions to the army accounts – and where are they?” The other women shrug.
Volyn women say that the local business owners have bought about fifty bulletproof vests and helmets, particularly for their compatriots. However where this equipment is now it unknown. The Headquarters of “Pivnich” operative commandment meanwhile advises the journalists to check information regarding humanitarian help from citizens more thoroughly.
Find out the reasons, eliminate the errors – to save others’ lives
The families of the recently mobilised men also came to bid their farewells to the fallen. Reproaches and demands sounded in the direction of military commissars and field commanders. As the higher officials, for the most part, have ignored the ceremony.
The wives of the mobilised say that they are being fooled. One of them publicly made the officers call her husband and make sure he was in Lugansk Oblast and not here, at the polygon, as the military commandment told her.
Another cause for reproach is the neglect of the military commissariat workers. The fallen father of two children Volodymyr Ovcharuk was given the military bill only during this conscription, though he had demanded it after the military department of university. He demanded it for 11 years. When he came to the military commissariat after receiving the summons with his father – his documents had someone else’s photo attached, said his mother, Lidiya Ovcharuk.
The commandment is making excuses – the boys were not sent to battle, because only special departments fight the terrorists. The deputy commander of OK “Pivnich” Volodymyr Yatsentiuk notified that in light of all the circumstances that led to the deaths of Volyn soldiers, an investigation is underway.
“There is guilt, however we have to determine the circumstances. We have information that the civil population prevented the establishment of this roadblock for a long time. Unfortunately the main issue is that we have not reconstructed our psychology to the military way,” concludes colonel Yatsentiuk.
The officers that have lost their subordinates are barely managing to hold the burden of physical and moral responsibility, which has ended up on their shoulders. The commander, who escorted “cargo-200,” lost consciousness near the jet in Rivne airport and is now in intensive care.
At home, the men were paid their respects as heroes. And for those who are now protecting the country’s integrity, they demanded according equipment and preparation. But meanwhile the state cannot manage to do so, Rivne and Volyn citizens, whose compatriots are in the majority of the deceased near Volnovacka, are transporting helmets and vests for the soldiers themselves.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina
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