Photo ex­hibit cap­tures hor­rors of Rus­sian mil­i­tary vic­tory in Ilo­vaisk

Kyiv Post - - News -

Four Ukrainian pho­tog­ra­phers on Aug. 10 put their im­ages of the most decisive mil­i­tary de­feat in Ukraine’s mod­ern history on dis­play in Kyiv’s Taras Shevchenko Mu­seum. Chron­i­cling Ukraine’s failed mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion to hold the strate­gic rail­road junction town of Ilo­vaisk in Donetsk Oblast, the four ded­i­cated their ex­hibit to “those who fell and those who sur­vived her tragic fire.”

Maxim Dondiuk and Alek­sander Glyadyelov were there from the be­gin­ning to shoot the first as­sault on the trans­port hub on Aug. 10, which ended in eight ser­vice­men be­ing killed in the area. They would leave around Aug. 22 with a col­umn of wounded sol­diers, four days af­ter a force con­sist­ing mostly of Don­bas Bat­tal­ion fight­ers, took half of the city.

Pho­tog­ra­phers Maksym Levin and Marki­ian Ly­seiko ar­rived in Ilo­vaisk on Aug. 23, the same day that four bat­tal­ion-sized Rus­sian tac­ti­cal units started to in­vade south­east­ern Ukraine, ac­com­pa­nied by some 100 mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles. Mean­while, a force of mostly vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions were ask­ing for ei­ther re­in­force­ments or or­ders to re­treat to avoid en­cir­clement. Their pleas, ac­cord­ing to a par­lia­men­tary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the bat­tle pub­lished in Oc­to­ber, weren’t an­swered in time. By Aug. 24, the area was sur­rounded and con­stantly shelled by the Rus­sian army and its prox­ies.

Levin and Ly­seiko joined one of two mil­i­tary col­umns in an In­finiti cross­over ve­hi­cle that on Aug. 29 broke through two rings of heavy ar­tillery and small arms fire to safety. Some 366 ser­vice­men were killed dur­ing the fierce bat­tle, ac­cord­ing to Ukraine’s mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tors, the ma­jor­ity of whom on or af­ter Aug. 29 while break­ing through the kill zone. Eighty three are still miss­ing in ac­tion, Ihor Palah­niuk, deputy chief of staff of the East Op­er­a­tional Com­mand, told mil­i­tary jour­nal­ist Serg Marco on Aug. 12. And some 65 per­cent of Ukraine’s mil­i­tary hard­ware was de­stroyed, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said af­ter the fight­ing had ended, a fig­ure that the par­lia­men­tary re­port dis­puted.

The Mas­sacre of Ilo­vaisk also had po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences. Public trust in the na­tion’s mil­i­tary lead­er­ship sunk. It led to the first truce be­ing signed on Sept. 5 in Minsk that never took hold. Also, by this time, Rus­sia’s war against Ukraine had claimed at least 2,600 sol­diers’ lives, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions. Ilo­vaisk photo ex­hibit. Aug. 11-30, Taras Shevchenko Mu­seum, 12 Shevchenko Blvd.

Known as a fear­less war­rior, Pavlo Pe­trenko stands erect as he fires a ma­chine gun dur­ing a fire­fight at road block No. 2 in Ilo­vaisk on Aug. 26. A di­rect hit from a Rus­sian tank killed him in­side a fire truck in Cher­vonosilske. He is buried in...

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