An account by Ukrainian journalist Nastya Stanko on the State of Affairs within the Ukrainian army in Sloviansk
I was having a phone conversation with my friend. He returned from Sloviansk for a week. In Sloviansk, he was commander of the first battalion of the National Guard for a month. The following are a few numbers he told me about. Their battalion was stationed at ten checkpoints around the city. During the whole month, the transportable shower only arrived at each checkpoint once and only half of the troops had an opportunity to shower. Later, the shooting commenced and the transportable shower no longer came to the checkpoints.
The field kitchen was not once present at any of the checkpoints. During first week there were packed lunches, but they soon ceased to be provided (here my friend remembered the situation with field kitchens Anti-Maidan as he himself was part of a squad at the Maidan and did not possess any previous military experience. Do you remember those field kitchens provided by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine at the Anti-Maidan? He does too). Bread has not been brought to the checkpoints for three weeks. My friend does not even mention the lack of cigarettes.
At the checkpoints, they slept basically where they have been standing. My friend built three barricades because if one of them was shelled, he could sleep behind another one. He was a bit envious of the gunmen who were sleeping inside warm houses located in the town. Nobody voted in their battalion. My friend was slightly angry that the higher command said that apparently everyone could vote, even for Liashko.
There was one good thing – plenty of cartridges. When the gunmen were advancing, the soliders were showering them with a wall of bullets. My friend liked this, though what he did not like was that when the terrorists were approaching, the soldiers were only shooting. The battalion could not go on an offensive nor catch the terrorists one by one. They were given orders to sit at the checkpoint and continue shooting, and they had to shoot like this each day for the whole month. Officially, each one of them was paid 1300 UAH for their work. It is due to this treatment, and due to the ATO not being carried out how it should have been that their morale has fallen.
In one week, however, he is going back, leaving his wife and 5 year-old daughter in Volyn Oblast again. Commanding like that did not exist at all. One time, the now deceased General Kulchytskyi visited them. He was very concerned that Berkut would replace the volunteers and that they might start firing at each other. The Berkut arrived. Some of them even asked the volunteers for forgiveness. They were surprised, that, as it turns out, the people of Maidan are real warriors, already fighting for one month. They (Berkut) confessed that they were told in Kyiv that they are fighting with scum. Well, one more piece of positive news.
Translated by Dasha Darchuk, Edited by Andriy Shymonyak
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