At the inquiry into the tragic events at Ilovaisk the GPU [State Political Directorate] states, that a serious role in the events was played by the 5th Territorial Battalion’s departure from their positions without an order. Is this true? It’s the holy truth.
The leadership of the Defense Ministry said that the operation in the Ilovaisk Raion [district] was planned flawlessly (perhaps with some small failures). Is this true? It’s the holy truth.
But in both cases – it is not the whole truth. Whereas in this particular case, a half truth is worse than the absence of any investigation.
Let’s start from the beginning. The operation was carried out by a set algorithm: a destruction of the firing positions and militant groups in the populated area of the settlement, Ilovaisk’s blocking by the army, and entrance into the settlement for units to carry out a clean up (with the understanding, they have no heavy weapons because they had it in mind that they simply do not need them). Up to this point, everything was going as planned.
Further, the operation was disrupted by regular army units of the Russian Federation that carried out strikes at our units in the Ilovaisk area, and surrounded those Ukrainian units that had already entered the city.
Just at this moment, it is impossible to understand why we are trying to distract from the main subject of the arguments to the effect that the operation in Ilovaisk was planned correctly, and if the 5th territorial battalion had not deserted, there would be no tragedy.
As to the 5th territorial battalion – I do not shield them, not in any case. When we talk about the actions of the battalion a reasonable question arises: if indeed, all of the soldiers of the battalion were threatened to death, and they were forced to retreat, then why didn’t they retreat in the “traditional” sense of the word and not take up new positions, ending up, so to speak, not so far away from the scene of action? I think that if the command of the battalion would have answered this question, he would contribute to clarifying the situation and stopped many a heated debate.
But this is secondary. The bottom line is that the investigation needs to answer the original question: when exactly was the Ukrainian military leadership informed about the mass invasion of Russian Federation troops (and from the border to Ilovaisk, shelling nonetheless by tank every 5 minutes), and what measures had been taken in order to avoid the tragedy (a previous withdrawal or commencing to transfer reserves). If such intelligence was not received, if no one “saw” Russian warriors prior to their appearance near Ilovaisk, then who is to blame? The answers to these questions will be the main answers in this story.
And one more thing. We hear the phrase from childhood that everyone is equal before the law. The Ilovaisk tragedy – is exactly a case when it is essential that in the face of the investigation all are equal, despite the presence of stars on shoulder straps, as well as their value. If this does not happen, then the army can be buried. An army is not worth much if all of the responsibility lies on the soldier’s shoulders.
Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group