13:27 Aug. 24, 2016
"If we had any idea about a possible Russian invasion, the military parade in Kyiv in 2014 would not have taken place," – Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces states
Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and General of the Army Victor Muzhenko on the eve of the second anniversary of the Battle of Ilovaisk published a series of posts on his page in Facebook, revealing the situation from his point of view. In the given text he offers his "thoughts, impressions and opinions about the events in Ilovaisk through the prism of time, speculation, manipulation and myths, periodically thrown into the society by "pseudo-experts" also publishing dozens of new photos from the field.
In his continued posts called "Ilovaisk through the prism of time" (still not finished at the time of this publication) Muzhenko is tracking events in detail starting from the July of 2014. At that time Ukrainian forces gained control of most of the frontline, cutting the Russian controlled forces in Donbas from the re-supplies of soldiers and weapons from the Russian Federation, "making a real threat to the entire idea Putin's project of "Novorosiyaˮ". This was the most successful period of Ukraine's Anti-terrorist operation in Donbas. Government forces were taking control and narrowing the circle of isolation in the area west of Donetsk (Avdiyivka, Pisky), and south of Donetsk (Dokuchayivsk, Starobesheve, Komsomolsk and breakthrough to the Ilovaysk area).
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In the second half of August 2014 the Ukrainian defense lines on the border were forced to move westwards due to Russia's treacherous artillery raids and rocket bombardments from their own territory. Ukrainian units suffered heavy losses and were exhausted, but still continued to fight and even commence impressive raids through enemy controlled territories (like the one of 95th airborne brigade) and pushing the Kremlin proxies out of occupied towns (like Ilovaysk and Luhansk airport area).
"So if we were able to implement all of our plans, we would have completely blocked Donetsk, Makiyivka, Gorlivka, Yenakiyeve and Luhansk, and would have the line of isolation from the south of Lutuhine near Krasny Luch, Stepanivka and access to the area of Amvrosiyivka. This encirclement was planned to encircle the illegal armed groups which we could keep without any possibility of getting the material and technical support. I believe this was one of the conditions why the Russians did this step of despair, and entered the ter
In his most recent post General Muzhenko also commented reports that Russian invasion plans were known to Ukrainian command in 10-12 days before its beginning.
"At that time it is clear, we did not have the relevant information,. If anyone knew who was providing this information, then the question is why was it not passed on to the antiterrorist operation leadership within 10-12 days before the Russian invasion?" – Commander-in-Chief says.
"The Russian attack was sudden, unexpected, and unpredicted for us. After all, we were still under the impression that there are 'International Humanitarian laws' on war, inviolability of borders, positions and so on. And that would be the restraining factor to stop Russian aggression", – Muzhenko assures.
Ukrainian Chief of General staff adds: "If we had known that on the night of 23 to 24 August 2014 Russian invasion will take place, I think there would not have had a parade [of military hardware in Kyiv on August 24, 2014 – UT]". However the parade involved not the battle units but mainly the students of military high schools. All of the military vehicles taking part in parade were sent to the front immediately after the parade – stated Muzhenko.
According to the data of Ukrainian General Staff the first definite information about the invasion of Russian regular forces appeared around 16 p.m. on August 24, 2014 and it is noted in army records. Later on August 25th, artillery of 51th brigade defeated a Russian army column, capturing two Russian servicemen. On August 26th the information was confirmed about the capturing 10 more servicemen of Putin's armed forces.
Also the Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service) addressed the requests for information on the revised data of events at Ilovaisk to the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Military responded with video version of the resulting report. This video contains accounts from official newsreels, amateur videos, maps and photos, unfortunatly only available in Ukrainian.
Today all circumstances of Ilovaysk tragedy are still the objects of investigation by Military Prosecutor's office. Last year the Ukrainian Parliament Commission stated that about 1000 were soldiers killed in Ilovaisk battle.
As an illustration to his posts Victor Muzhenko published a series of unseen photos from the battlefield of Ilovaisk.