Veterans demand to punish those responsible for Ilovaisk tragedy

Source : 112 Ukraine

Participants in the battle passed letter to Poroshenko, saying the responsibility lies with the-then leadership of the Ukrainian army
16:27, 18 January 2016

The case of Ilovaisk mousetrap should be handed to the court, and those responsible for deaths of hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen in the trap should be punished. These are the demands of Ukrainian troopers who participated in the Ilovaisk operation in eastern Ukraine in summer 2014, 112 Ukraine TV channel reports. Most of them served with Donbas volunteer battalion, one of the Ukrainian units that found themselves encircled in Ilovaisk at the time.

According to the veterans, the responsibility for the Ilovaisk tragedy lies with the-then leaders of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Defense Ministry. Since the investigation of the incident started, the case has never been handed to the court. So, the activists passed a letter with their demands to President Poroshenko and gave him two weeks to meet their requirements. Otherwise, they promise another protest action near the Presidential Administration.   

“The investigation committee concluded that the responsibility for the Ilovaisk tragedy rests with some Russian General, his President Putin and the Russian Federation overall.  We strongly disagree with that. It is the responsibility of the-then military leadership of Ukraine”, said Taras Kostanchuk, commander of an assault team of Donbas volunteer battalion.

The Battle of Ilovaisk was one of the key battles of the Donbas conflict that led to signing of the Minsk Protocol by the trilateral contact group. The battle took place in August 2014, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine and pro-Ukrainian paramilitaries began a series of attempts to capture the city of Ilovaisk from pro-Russian insurgents affiliated with the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Whilst government forces were able to enter the city on 18 August, they quickly became encircled by the insurgents. After days of encirclement, government forces made an agreement with the Russia-backed mercenaries to allow them to retreat from the city. This agreement was not honoured, and many Ukrainian soldiers were killed whilst trying to escape the encirclement. Hundreds were killed, wounded or gone missing. 

A criminal probe into the failure of government troops in Ilovaisk was opened in September 2014. Two months after the battle, many bodies of Ukrainian soldiers were still being found around Ilovaisk. According to head of the Parliament's investigation committee Andriy Senchenko, up to 1,000 soldiers died in the Battle of Ilovaisk. The-then Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey was forced to resign on October 14, in part because of his responsibility for the failure of military coordination during the battle.

Related: Monument to American, who died in Ilovaisk battle, established in Kyiv

Related: Battle of Ilovaisk: 158 Ukrainian soldiers missing, 128 captured

Related: 3.5 thousand Russian troops participating battle of Ilovaisk, Donetsk region has documental testimony

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