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Donbass Military Truth: Sooty Faced Angels

Date: April 12, 2024 Time: 21:26:13

The unique rescue team park was burned down during the shelling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

Donbass is the land of mines. There, in the depths, at any moment a release of poisonous and explosive gas can occur. And during the shelling, the lights go out, the fans come on, hundreds of people are trapped underground.

In such cases, the miners have only one hope – mountain rescuers who will rush, put out the fire, carry everyone upstairs and provide medical assistance. The Donetsk rescuers themselves have no one to trust. They are also a target for the artillery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces…


Last summer I was in Donetsk and I remember the monstrous shelling. Struck in the center of the city, the streets were extinguished. There were many arrivals on Artyom Street. Even now, I park my car on the east side of this street in dismay. It would be better in the west, under cover of houses…

I turn towards the square, where the head of the rescue team, Dmitry Makhorin, finds me. We pass the broken base of rescuers. I already saw it in the browser, the home photo from 2012 is still hanging there: the garage has doors, windows, a roof. He is now a skeleton.

“They tried to destroy our detachment,” says Dmitry. We went down to the shelter and sat there for 2-3 hours until the fire department arrived.

– Did the rescuers rescue the rescuers?

– Yes sir. But then the firefighters had to hide in a bomb shelter…

– Why did they want to destroy your squad?

– So the mines couldn’t work. And we – unliquidated accidents.

Dmitry Makhorin, head of the rescue team.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

– Could they take you for a soldier?

– No. Our location was no secret. The detachment was destroyed on purpose. And before that, they fired at our apartment at the Chelyuskintsev mine, the equipment burned.

The Chelyuskintsev mine was shelled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in June 2022.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

At the time of the bombing, 52 people were underground.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

– But they could not destroy the detachment?

– No, the Russian EMERCOM sent new equipment.

In the garage courtyard, the painting is apocalyptic. The charred skeletons of the rescue vehicles are stacked on top of each other. But in the clear corners of the garage, snow-white KamAZ trucks are already standing, ready for rescue trips.

The unique rescue team park was burned down during the shelling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN


Rescuers are the only ones who have the right to go down into the mines and eliminate fires and accidents. And an underground fire is worse than usual. It is a closed space. Depth, pressure, lack of air, risk of methane explosion. Rescuers go to the fire with protective suits and oxygen supply for 4 hours.

– Do you often have to go to the accident?

– There have been over 70 calls since the start of the NWO. Up to 150 people can be trapped underground at one time. The barrage de-energizes the entire area. And people at a depth of 1200 meters cannot get up. It happens that the lift cage stops, and there are a dozen and a half people in it.

– And what, you lower them stairs, cables?

– There are no stairs of this length, and the cable is useless. The only option is to start the cage over. We adjust the generators and raise the cage.

– How long do people have to hang out like this?

– We’re leaving right away. We have a standard: from receiving a request to leaving the gate – 6 minutes. But there was a case in a kopanka near Shakhtersk – people were flooded there. They sat in the mine for 3 days until they were dug up.

The rescue service building was badly damaged during the shelling.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

Several shells hit the rescue service building.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN


The mines of the Torez detachment, Makeevka, are now working in Donbass. Donetsk mines do not extract coal. But they hold.

Since the mine, like any well, is filled with water, it is necessary to pump it out. If you turn off the pumps, the mine will be flooded immediately. And there is expensive equipment …

In addition, water from closed mines flows into the ones that are in operation. In Donetsk, the mines are often next to each other or one on top of the other. If you leave a mine, you may lose the neighboring ones. This means that rescuers have to go where enemy drones hang out and the roads are littered with mines.

– Do you only work with mines?

– Even with the meter, they also pump water there.

– Where does the metro come from in Donetsk?!

– They wanted to build it before 2014. They dug trenches and made tunnels. Not in time, but the project itself. When the shelling stops, they will complete construction.


Let’s go to the medical room. It seems dark as a mine. The owner of the cabinet is Alexander, a doctor from the Ministry of Emergency Situations. He goes to accidents and literally saves lives: heals burns, stops bleeding. Unlike Dmitry, who is full of life, he seems to be a restrained person, he responds curtly.

-Do fights change the panorama of injuries that miners receive?

– Yes, there are mines-explosive, shrapnel wounds.

– Do the miners need psychological assistance?

“Sometimes people are surprised. Although used to bombing. But the closer the projectile is, the more stress.

New cars were sent from the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

Photo: Grigory KUBATIAN

– Do the lifeguards get stressed?

– We have a full-time psychologist. But in order for one of the rescuers to turn to him, this was not the case.

– What was the most difficult in your practice?

– Once a man fell to the waist. He spent 6 hours under the landslide and it was hard to get close to him. But they took it off and took him to the hospital. Recovered, working.

– How to get the victim through the mine? It’s not easy underground.

– He’s strapped to a gurney. And we have folding stretchers, mountain rescue.


To conclude this story, I am on my way to meet an ex-mountain rescuer. Nikolai resigned when the fighting started in the DPR, he took the children to Russia. He then returned, but they no longer took him to the rescuers because of his age. You can get this job up to the age of 35. So now he’s a security guard. In his spare time he volunteers, he is passionate about Indian culture.

Bhajan mantras are played outside the gate. Volunteers prepare food for the needy to the sound of music: they will also bring fighting-affected villages to Mariupol. In the dining room, they sit on the floor eating curries and chapatis.

It’s hard to believe, looking at this man with smiling eyes, what he did before. But Nikolai speaks of his experience with nostalgia, if he were allowed, he would return to the rescuers.

“I remember the accident when I thought: if I get out, I’m going to pay,” he recalls. “People were running towards them, fleeing from the fire. Then an explosion. She didn’t know if she would or not. Everything was at the limit of physical capabilities.

– When the fire flies through the mine, how to stop it?

– We have to close the corridors. Concrete is laid: two walls, or even six. Bags of plaster are brought into the mine, water is supplied, and these walls are built.

– Do they build well during the fire?

– Yes. Then the exhaust gas is forced through the holes in the walls: it squeezes out the oxygen and the fire goes out. A lot of gasoline is needed, so a helicopter engine is installed in the mine.

– Helicopter?!

– When the engineers came up with this, they were also ridiculed. But it turned out that it is the most effective.

Why is there a fire in the mine? Hardly anyone smokes there!

– If you get a cigarette, they cut off your head. There are several reasons: sparks of electricity, coal seams ignite spontaneously. There are methane mines. If the methane bursts and kicks up the coal dust, it will also ignite. Therefore, the powder is watered so that it is moist. The lantern is used in isolation, called a “horse race”. With the usual it is impossible that there is no spark.

Is it difficult to put out a fire in a mine?

– Perfect health is needed. You carry 30-40 kilograms: an oxygen bottle, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, refrigeration elements, ice briquettes in your pockets, a fire hydrant…

– What kind of hydrant-pistol?

– It makes a hole in the water pipe to join it and pump water from there.

– Is it hot in the mine?

– Sometimes it’s cold, you get cold with a sweatshirt. And sometimes it’s hot in shorts. The deeper you go, the hotter it gets. For every 100 meters of depth, the temperature increases 1 degree. We work at a maximum depth of up to 1.5 km.

– Are there often explosions in the mines?

– Mine Zasyadko – usually a tinderbox. In the zero years, it happened – from 30 to 100 people blew up at once. And just fucked up, we look, people are already going around the mine with job sheets. Because there are empty seats. Then in Ukraine the villages were abandoned, there was no other work.

– What do you feel when there is an explosion underground?

– Our commander got under the explosion and flew along the development. He said: you feel like a leaf in the wind, you don’t lie down, you don’t hold on. But he lived on.


Leaving the volunteers, I thought about how hard a miner’s job is. How dangerous is the work of rescue miners. But it’s even harder to work and save when the enemy is trying to kill you on purpose. How much can one person bear? He’s not some fictional Hollywood hero, cleansed and unscathed when a plane crashes on his head. And an ordinary Russian, his face sooted from coal dust.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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