rt.com’s version of the dead soldiers, see highlight, followed by another later effort, badly wrong

Indiscriminate friendly-fire reported amid Kiev military op in Lugansk region
RT.com, May 23 2014

In a military operation against breakaway Lugansk People’s Republic, Kiev forces have killed at least 7 self-defence troops and injured dozens of locals. The attackers also reportedly shot at their own, who refused to fulfil orders and surrendered. Both sides suffered losses during the battle near the village of Rubezhnoye, close to Lisichansk in the Lugansk region, said Ostap Cherniy, a spokesman for self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Lugansk said at a press conference on Thursday night. Cherniy said as cited by RIA Novosti:

When the Ukrainian military with a column of armored vehicles approached Lisichansk, militias tried to negotiate with them, but they opened fire.

He added that local residents, including children, were also trying to block military vehicles of the National Guard and begging them not to kill them. At least 7 self-defense members were killed and 16 others injured, according to Cherniy, while there was no information about casualties among Kiev forces. When the military retreated after the shootout, about 30 of them decided to stay and surrender. Cherniy said that self-defense forces fed the prisoners and decided to relocate them in the local college. Then, he said:

After they boarded a bus and drove to the college, the military opened fire at the bus with a heavy machine gun.

A military doctor Gennady Moralishvili confirmed that Ukrainian armed forces opened fire at their own people who had earlier surrendered. He added that most of those injured currently in the local hospital are civilians. Moralishvili also said that the National Guard set the city’s train station on fire and when fire brigade arrived to put it out, they shot at them too. The ‘friendly-fire’ incident was also confirmed by another captive Ukrainian soldier, who says he was left behind alone inside an APC during the retreat. The soldier said during the same press conference:

The commander ordered us to open indiscriminate fire. The locals saved me from them.

By the nightfall, armed clashes ceased around the city of Lisichansk, local activist Sergey told RT by phone, adding that the militias have taken control over all checkpoints that came under fire during the day. He said:

Medics in local hospitals reported large numbers of injured coming in during the day. There are a lot of injured among local population who came under fire on the outskirts of Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. Some are seriously wounded, who will be sent for surgery and treatment to [Lugansk].

In the neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic, armed clashes also intensified on Thursday. At least 16 Ukrainian rookie soldiers were killed and over 30 injured in an attack on a military checkpoint on the edge of Blagodatnoe village in Donetsk region. While Kiev blames local self-defense for the deadly attack, militias claim they did not conduct this operation and say it a was a staged provocation to frame them. Reports from the ground indicate that unknown attackers arrived in transit vans, with armored vehicles and combat helicopters providing cover for them. Numerous videos posted online showed two combat helicopters shelling the area.

This following report, though written later, is even worse. It appears to be covering up essential dimensions of what was happening, while relying upon translated conversation from the video to create what I believe is a false construction of what was happened. But no matter: eventually we shall know – RB

Donetsk bloodbath: Insider video shows Ukraine helicopters firing at own checkpoint
RT.com, May 23 2014

Ukrainian helicopter gunships shot at a Ukrainian military checkpoint in Donetsk Region in the aftermath of a night battle, a video presumably shot by one of the soldiers indicates. Apparently, Kiev’s troops suffer from gross lack of communications. The eight-minute video on YouTube was shot near the town of Volnovakha in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, according to the description. It shows a group of armed uniformed men with Ukrainian army insignia and at least two others in civilian clothes taking cover behind a military truck. The vehicle is at a field and the men are observing from a distance a woodland belt separating on the field border At least two vans are seen and fire burns among the trees. Sporadic gunfire can be heard, possibly from ammunition detonating in the fire, and then a massive explosion erupts at the camp. The soldiers discuss whether they should fall back. Then two Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunships start barraging at low altitude over the area. After several passes the aircraft start barraging the burning camp from their cannons. One of the soldiers exclaims in surprise:

What are their doing? Are they ours?

Another replies:

What the fuck else?

The group hastily flees the scene, but the cameraman continues shooting the footage, cursing and praying as he runs. A couple of minutes later he gets to another woodland belt. He approaches another Ukrainian military man, who is speaking on a mobile phone. The man says:

Who are they shooting at? There are civilians and our soldiers there! Do you have a line to the army aviation? What the fuck is happening? Two 24s and an 8 arrived. They are flying over our checkpoint and shooting at our checkpoint! There are lots of corpses there! We were dousing the burning BMP. We thought the Mi-8 was going to pick up the bodies. Now they are shooting!

Ukrainian troops use their helicopters in the fight against the local armed militias opposing Kiev’s rule to destroy hardware damaged in the clashes to prevent it from falling into the hands of the militias. Miscommunication among the troops could have led to the aviation command believing that the checkpoint was taken over by the militias. The video was uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday, which puts the timing of the video hours after a night attack on the military checkpoint near Volnovakha. The attack may not have been a militia raid, but rather a case of friendly fire, in which one pro-Kiev unit mistakenly attacked another unit. The battle left at least 16 Ukrainian troops killed and 30 others injured.

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