Eight servicemen of the Ukrainian army who stood against Russian regular troops in the 2014 Battle of Ilovaisk are still captives of the Kremlin militants. The press department of the Ukrainian army reported that on Friday.
‘The overall combat losses that the Ukrainian military suffered during the fights near Ilovaisk make 437 people; 192 were killed, 212 wounded, 25 missing in action and another eight are held captive,’ the authority said, responding to the request by BBC Ukraine.
The battle of Ilovaisk is one of the most gruesome battles in the entire Donbas conflict. The very town, posing a major regional railroad hub, was of great importance for both sides – the Ukrainian government forces and the Russian regular troops, assisted by the local pro-Kremlin insurgents. In early August, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and fighters of armed volunteer battalions began a series of attempts to capture the city of Ilovaisk from pro-Russian insurgents affiliated with the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic.
Whilst government forces were able to enter the city on August 18, they became encircled between the 24-26 August by overwhelming Russian military forces that crossed the border, joining the battle. After days of encirclement, government forces made an agreement with the insurgents, favored by Russian president Vladimir Putin, to allow them to retreat from the city. This agreement was not honored, and many soldiers died whilst trying to escape.
In August 2016, Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian army Viktor Muzhenko stated that the cause of the battle's outcome was the involvement of Russian troops, along with Ukrainian commanders' incompetence in the planning of the retreat.
The battle became one of the most tragic pages in the history of hostilities in Ukraine’s Donbas.