Ukraine Air Assault Forces and their exploits
Hello, I`m Vasily Prozorov.
Today I`d like to dedicate a couple of words to the elite of Ukrainian Army - Air Assault Forces. I should remind that Airborne Forces celebrate a round anniversary on 2nd of August – 90 years. But that is in Russia. And what about Ukraine?
Ukraine inherited lots of units of this branch of service from Soviet Union. After multiple reforms and renamings by 2014 Ukrainian Armed Forces included high mobility landing troops (VDV). An attempt to follow traditions can be felt from the first sight. VDV is a famous brand. But Ukrainian doesn`t give this consonance. That would be Air landing troops – PDV. Doesn't sound well, does it?
Structure of high mobility landing troops included 4 brigades – 25th airborne, 79th and 95th air assault and 80th airmobile, as well as different reinforcing and supply units.
It should be mentioned that Ukrainian troopers at that moment were trying to keep high level of proficiency in spite of the terrible materiel and technical support. They gained experience of taking part in different international peace-support missions in ex-Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Iraq, Sierra Leone.
So in Ukraine a blue beret and a frock were still the symbols of unbreakable spirit and bravery. Cause the motto of all troopers – “Nobody but us”, that lays emphasis on specialness and devotion of all fighters of VDV and their readiness to go all the way. The first who said that was the founder of VDV Vasily Margelov. By the way, Margelov was born in Dnepropetrovsk.
But 2014 came. An anti-terrorist operation began. VDV units were there at the forefront. By the way, as official historians of Ukraine say, the first shot of Ukrainian Army in this war was made by the trooper, the company commander of 80th airmobile brigade Vadim Sycharevsky, the present battalion chief at 36th Marine brigade. This happened on 13th of April in 2014 when a conflict between group of Girkin and officers of the Security Service of Ukraine near Slavyansk.
After that different things have happened. There was a surrender of equipment to rebels of 25th brigade and raid of 95th brigade along the area of DPR. Units of VDV were often used by command of ATO as fire crew in view of their high morale. Given that there were successful practices of using these units in autumn in 2014 within the territory of Donetsk region one more brigade has been formed – the 81st.
And then things that had to begin started. War against own people. Whatever Ukrainian propagandists call it – it enervates any army. Fact of marauding, debauchery, abusing of civilians appeared in VDV units.
Here is a good example – on 16th of March in the center of Konstantinovka that was controlled by Ukrainian Army since 2014, tracked armored vehicle at about 14:00 crashed into a post at great speed and hit a woman and two children.
Girl of 8 years named Polina died at scene. The woman and the second child that got serious injuries were taken to the hospital. There were two people in the vehicle – a driving solder and an officer, first lieutenant Marian Rack. Locals were going to lynch both of them right there. Moreover, they both were drunk. The police have saved troopers rescuing them from arms of local people.
Konstantinovka was always boiling. I was in the neighboring Kramatorsk when this happened. I remember that we have been alerted as protests of citizens were about to erupt into mass disobedience.
Police and military forces have been used to suppress them. Deputy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, advisor to the head of Ministry of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashenko live on “112 Ukraine” said that security officials were allowed to shoot to kill.
Indignation of locals was crushed by force, instigator were arrested and blamed of “working for separatists”.
At the same time authorities promised that those who are guilty of death of the child would receive a severe punishment.
But… in 2015 first lieutenant Marian Rack was rewarded “for the personal courage and high professionalism, shown in the defense of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, loyalty to military oath” with Order of Bogdan Khmelnytskyi of the 3rd Class by the decree of Ukrainian President.
This could be taken for a mistake but the very next day Petr Poroshenko handled the Order to the “hero of Konstantinovka” personally.
Marian Rack was never found guilty. He got off with a disciplinary battalion and firing from the army. In 2016 he was rewarded again – with an Order of Danila Galitskyi.
Anyway, we should not talk about the moral decay in elite. As the phrase goes, fish rots from its head. The head of troops was lieutenant general Michail Zabrodskyi, who occupied this position from March 2015 till August 2019. In 2014 after Slavyansk was occupied units of 95th air assault brigade were located there. It was determined as a unit of immediate subordination to flag officer of ATO, in fact – a private backup. Servicemen were located in a picturesque place called “Slavkurort”, green zone, where a lot of health resorts disposed and are known from the earliest times. These were institutions that have been occupied by troopers of 95th brigade. It is obvious that their behavior was not that good – why would they stand the ceremony with the separatists. But on 13th of July they overextended themselves. Four soldiers have not only refused to pay for their rest in the climatotherapy zone, they made a dustup and picked to pieces accommodations, inflicting injuries on staff. And one of the participants of this “battle with separatists” was the head of VDV - Michail Zabrodskyi. The relevant document you can see in the enclosure to the video.
Fish rots from its head… That is why when Ukrainian government decided to give up on the old symbols and names, so that to make everything “not like moskals do” – I only welcomed that. You do not have the right to wear the blue beret, a frock and all those legends that steep well-known “Troops of Uncle Vasya”.
Nowadays landing troops are called in Ukraine Air Assault Forces, wear cordovan berets and are going to celebrate their professional holiday on 21st of November.
On the other hand not like "moskals" do.