The Ilovaisk tragedy is often called a kind of Rubicon and a watershed between peaceful life and war. This is not entirely true—by the beginning of the summer of 2014, 80% of the losses were incurred by the power structures of Ukraine in clashes with the proxy forces of the Russian Federation.
The defeat of the checkpoint near Volnovakha was the work of Lieutenant Colonel Bezler (with a medal for the FSB service, who was later evacuated by the department to Russia).
Ukrainian helicopters Mi-24 and Mi-8 were shot down from MANPADS that the captured SSU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs could not have at their disposal. A detachment Iskra (Sparkle from Ukrainian) formed from Chechnya veterans was preparing to attack Mariupol, but was hurriedly thrown into the Donetsk airport—120%, that in addition to Girkin and Sysoyev, there were also specialists who worked on the "Ukrainian issue", having taken off their shoulder marks.
The same is true for the opposite side. Callsign General, a career lieutenant colonel of the FSB, who had his own floor in the Donetsk SSU, died at the Donetsk airport. A group of Russian specialists in the Luhansk region came under mortars (the leak of the "Odintsov list" from the time of the Iskra defeat is in many ways an attempt to identify the victims).
Numerous monuments to the military in the Russian Federation are full of May and June. So the sides were actively bleeding each other, and the fighting fierceness was largely determined by that early period of the special operation against Ukraine. Executions of officers during negotiations, attacks without insignia from captured cash-in-transit vehicles, shelling from a crowd of civilians.
Many analysts and military observers rightly write about the watershed between the "freemen" of the volunteer battalions and the regular army of the war early period. That Donbas, Dnipro, Svityaz, Kherson, Shakhtersk, and Azov were really neede in other sectors.
For example, in sector A, where, relying on the powerful garrison of the Luhansk airport and capturing the heights above Kambrod, it was possible to exploit a success, and in case of failure, roll back across the river Luhan. It is impossible to guarantee that this would lead to the liberation of Luhansk, but it was quite possible to avoid a catastrophe—in the north the enemy was advancing one and a half kilometers a day, and there was no loss of control there along the entire line of contact.
But the volunteer fighters concentrated their efforts in sector D. The story of the meetings in the Regional State Administration of Dnipropetrovsk and the fact that the economy with the power plant in Zuhres dominated the tactical situation is still waiting for its thoughtful investigation.
It is also fair to say that storming a fairly large regional center with a garrison of at least 150 militants with a combined detachment of volunteer battalions having 340 "bayonets" with single infantry fighting vehicles and armored vehicles is a major mistake in itself. Even when the Donbas was entrenched in the school and the Myrotvorets (Peacemaker form Ukrainian)—in the depot, it was clear that it was very problematic for light infantry without heavy weapons in a settlement with high-rise buildings, a freight railway station, and prepared fortified districts to work.
But the urban battle merry-go-round had already begun to spin, and it was decided to increase the pressure in sectors B and D. Why the operation was not curtailed on the 20th of August, when it became clear that the city would not be captured in the next few days, and Azov freely left Ilovaisk—there is still no adequate answer to this question.
As well as why the withdrawal was carried out along the route agreed with the Russian cadre units—along a mined corridor prepared for execution. After all, defending in the building, trying to supply the group with a parachute method and breaking through the blockade from the outside, was clearly more tactically competent than believing the Russians and being shot in marching formation.
But, despite this, both the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the volunteer battalions completed their soldier's work to the end. They fought against the superior forces of the enemy, who ideally chose the place and time of the attack. They fought encounter battles, destroying several tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. They captured a T-72 tank and Russian prisoners in the sector, having got video footage of the Kremlin regime's invasion of our country.
The group in the Ilovaisk region was not abandoned and there were attempts to unblock them, there were air strikes on Russian units and launches of the Tochka short-range ballistic missile system. Badly, but many survived due to the fact that from outside the encirclement they set up a firing border and held the "neck"—about 80 people left the encirclement.
After the loss of control, the fighters continued to break through in groups and one by one to the east, and those who were captured rescued their comrades through the Red Cross doctors, did not cooperate with the enemy and, in general, behaved in captivity very dignified.
And even here, in ideal conditions for themselves (working as in a shooting club, from prepared positions, striking at the light infantry exhausted by many days of fighting with fresh, heavily armed mechanized units), the Russians realized that they would not be able to walk easily through Ukraine. And that was proved a year later near Mariinka, in Prymorie, and Bakhmutka, when, in turn, the "corps" of the Russian proxies spit blood.
But at that time, in the summer of 2014, a high and bitter price was paid for it. Yesterday the Memory Bell rang 223 times for the fallen in Ilovaisk, dozens of fighters are still considered missing. We should remember their sacrifice, for the victims gave everything to Ukraine and, except for our memory, they have nothing else left. We must learn the lessons of 2014, for example, what the words of Russian officers are worth, and study our own mistakes so that people do not pay with their lives for them.