Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy (Gosha) Tykhyi was involved in producing a story for the German TV station ARD on Ukrainian forces fighting in Ilovaisk, encircled by pro-Russian forces. At the end of August, these forces evacuated Ilovaisk after pro-Russian forces promised them a “humanitarian corridor” that would allow them safe passage. These forces ambushed the Ukrainians, leading to over 100 dead; some accounts claim hundreds of lives were lost. Here, in a caption to an album of photos he shared on Facebook (“Ilovaisk Encirclement 3 Weeks Later”), Tykhyi relates one story about a soldier who did not make it out of the encirclement alive. The translation from Russian is by William Risch, Georgia College.
It’s a sad album and a sad message. My day started with a phone call. “Heorhiy?” I wake up. “Yes, that’s me.” “If found a note by you here. It’s not a provocation. It’s one written with red ink, on a piece of paper, your name and telephone number…” The dream goes away in an instant, and I understand what this is about. Back in the depot, I had given some soldiers ‘business cards’ written by hand on small pieces of paper from checker-patterned notebook paper so that they could find out later about the film we were doing. “A small piece of paper, checker-patterned?” “Yes… There’s a soldier here. We found him in a field… He’s a policeman, given his uniform… That note was with him. You’re the only one we could call…” I carefully ask whom I’m speaking with – what if they’re DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) people? An entire special operation. Later it turned out that it was a Ukrainian search team.
Today they buried Maksym Sukhenko at St. Michael’s. Rest in peace. I remember the words his father uttered to me: “They say he’s a hero. That doesn’t make it any easier for me…”
And there’s yet another field. The photos were done yesterday. Here, 5 kilometers from Starobeshevo, a column of Ukrainian troops was breaking through.