Comment by the Saker:
This is a very interesting interview. First, it basically confirms everything the Novorussians were saying. But secondly, the officer speaking, Andrei Vysota, CO of 25th "Kievan Rus" battalion, declares at the end that even though Poroshenko awarded the title and medal to Commander Sergei Shaptala of the 128th Mukachevo mountain infantry brigade just to make him shut up, Shaptala did deserve that medal for having had the courage to order a retreat.
From the point of view of the Russian military ethos, this is an amazing statement for the following reasons:
1) Russian officers always are at the frontline with their soldiers. This is why a Russian General was seriously wounded in South Ossetia, and this is why we have all seen Givi, Motorola, Mozgovoi and even Zakharchenko right on the very front line, a few hundred yards from the junta forces. In contrast, Shaptala himself fled the Debaltsevo Cauldron and he gave his order from afar.
2) What risk did Shaptala actually take? He took the risk of being demoted, possibly face insubordination or even (let's worst case) treason charges. Although, in reality, all he risked was basically to damage his future career. But even if he did face demotion or court martial, this is *nothing* compared to what his men faced and for that *nothing* he deserves the title of Hero of the Ukraine?! From a Russian point of view this is totally crazy.
3) Finally, Vysota openly admit that Shaptala got the medal of Hero of the Ukraine as a bribe to make him shut up directly implying that all it takes to make a Hero of the Ukraine shut up about the truth about the death of his own man is to give him a medal he does not even deserve in the first place!
I am absolutely amazed by all this. Apparently, the Ukrainian forces have not only failed to develop their own ethos, they were not even capable of maintaining even a little of the ethos of the Soviet military where to get a medal of "Hero of the Soviet Union" one had to do something quite heroic indeed.
If Shaptala is the best the junta has, then no wonder that their forces are losing every battle and that they get beat by men like Bezler, Mozgovoi, Motorola, Givi, Kononov, Zakharchenko and all the other Novorussian commanders every single one of which personally fought on the front line and many of whom were wounded in battle.
I will be honest with you, every time I see one of the Novorussian commanders on the frontline, I am personally horrified and appalled. I got all my military training in the West were a general belongs into a hardened bunker packed with advanced communication gear and protected from pretty much anything short of a nuclear strike. But I also have to admit that having the commanders in the front lines makes a huge difference. This has always been a Russian military tradition for many centuries, and this has also been a German one (during WWII German general did fight with their men in the front lines). I recognize the superiority of that approach, but it still horrifies me (-: This is what you get for being born in old Russian military family but having been trained in western Europe: a strong cognitive dissonance when your two cultures take radically different positions :-)
Lastly, I really feel sorry, from the bottom of my heart, for the men uselessly killed in Debaltsevo. Did you get the part when Vysota said that when the Ukies tried to evacuate their *wounded* they all got killed by the Novorussian artillery? Can you imagine being wounded in a battle you cannot win, then being evacuated in trucks only to die being ripped into shreds or incinerated by artillery strikes?
May God rest the souls of these poor men who suffered and died in horrible circumstances and for nothing other then the political arrogance, ambitions and incompetence of a junta of Nazi freaks.
PS: one more thing. Under Stalin every single junta officer responsible for this outrageous disaster would have been summarily executed. Just saying...