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In the first battle they ran out of cartridges and faced each other hand to hand: where are the heroes of the Vostok battalion going?

Date: June 17, 2024 Time: 06:47:55

In May 2024, the integration of the Vostok battalion into the Russian Guard is completed. Photo: Valentin Sprinchak/TASS

In May 2024, the integration of the Vostok battalion into the Russian Guard is completed. It is symbolic that it was also created in May 2014. Exactly 10 years ago.


year 2014. Middle-aged men, and many older, some shaved, others with beards, some with helmets obtained from someone unknown from where, others with scarves, armed with simple rifles. People shout out loud: “This one! East!”, the girls give them flowers, the older women baptize them. This was the first meeting of the Vostok battalion, which entered the center of Donetsk on Victory Day. And it was the same popular militia, made up of former miners, drivers and workers. There were no military professionals there. But it is these people who will give a beating to the Ukrainian army, including the nationalist battalions.

– How did it all start then? – I ask Alexander Khodakovsky, a colonel with the call sign “Skif”.

– The battalion was created in deep secrecy. And May 9 was the moment of our legalization, when it was very necessary to show the people that they have protection. Then the nationalists from Ukraine arrived in Donbass, after having tasted the blood and impunity of the Maidan. And we had a task: to create a unit that could resist them and not allow Donetsk to break at the knee. We understood that Ukraine had its entire propaganda machine on its side, that it would present the murders of Donetsk residents as sacred battles,” Khodakovsky recalls.

And then mass recruitment into the battalion began. Most of the established adults came to sign up.

– We did not establish selection criteria. The only criterion is internal motivation. There were few young people. The main composition of the “East” is those who absorbed the Soviet Union, went through Afghanistan and perceived everything that happened after 1991 as unnatural and unjust. But we were not interested in the positions and professions of the recruits,” says Khodakovsky.

It was “Vostok” who took the National Guard regiment and other special units of Ukraine out of Donetsk. And many of those who served there simply joined the ranks of the battalion.

Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok battalion, 2014.

Photo: Victor GUSEINOV.


– The very name “East” was born as a symbol that we were the east of Ukraine. And in Orthodoxy, the East is the dawn, the birth of the new. And we have always felt the patronage of Saint George, the day Vostok was created,” the commander admits. – We participated in serious battles and could have suffered much more terrible losses, but something always protected us. And it’s not just a question of rationality, there was something from above. Furthermore, we were not a regular army, but volunteers with rifles and carbines.

The first battle in “Vostok” took place near Karlovka, then a battalion of Ukrainian nationalists “Donbass”* (an organization banned in the Russian Federation) led by the hateful thug Semyon Semenchenko tried to break through to Donetsk.

– That battle took place at our checkpoint. And it lasted more than four hours. Until reinforcements arrived, only then the course of the battle changed and we managed to push the enemy back,” Khodakovsky recalls. “Many people remember the famous photograph in which the nationalist’s uniform was opened and it was clear that he had a swastika engraved on his chest. And it was into this swastika that our fighter stuck his knife in when he ran out of ammunition and the battle turned into hand-to-hand combat. He later admitted that he did not expect this of himself; However, shooting at a distance is not at all like sticking a knife into the enemy’s chest. This was the baptism of fire for “the East”. And then there were so many fights that we lost count. We not only liberated cities, but also took them under our responsibility, prevented looting, established self-government, the work of public services, delivered humanitarian aid, fed the poor and also paid pensions to the families of fallen soldiers. .


– Was it your “Vostok” that won the battle for Saur-Mogila?

– For us, the main front line was then in the Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk directions, and Saur-Mogila was 90 kilometers in the rear. At first there was a reinforced Vostok company at the height, then I reduced it to 30 people who stood guard there. In a moment of calm, our repair team arrived to repair the captured equipment and put it to use. And then the enemy sent his troops to cut us off from the Russian border. So these repairers had to stay and fight alongside the fighters. We were opposed by serious forces, only the Armed Forces of Ukraine had as much equipment as we had personnel. Vostok’s weapons include light mortars and anti-aircraft guns. But just as we take responsibility for this height, we do not transfer it to anyone until liberation. Seven of us were left lying there. But the Ukrainian Armed Forces lost much more.

Now there is a bell in Saur-Mogila, and next to it are the graves of these fighters who have become part of the memorial. When rebuilding this height, they decided not to move them. Our comrade’s phrase put an end to all discussions: “The Ukrofashists did not take them out of there, but what if we suddenly took them and transferred them? They deserve to stay here! I think the monument only benefited from this.

The commander of the Vostok battalion, Alexander Khodakovsky, on the front line near Volnovakha.

Photo: Dmitry STESHIN.


– It was “Vostok” that forced nationalists to flee Mariupol in 2014. Unfortunately, then the city was abandoned. You returned there in 2022, with the start of the Northern Military District.

– By the way, we returned to Mariupol with the Vostok core. In 2022 a new story began. Although, to be honest, in the first days of the Northern Military District we were taken aback. Not everyone was prepared for the offensive, because the previous eight years we had been on the defensive. But there was no time to reflect, the Calibers flew through Ukrainian military airfields and we had the opportunity to throw off the suffocating noose surrounding the Donbass throat. Therefore, they were rebuilt into a new reality in seconds,” says Khodakovsky.

“Vostok” had the opportunity to break through the first line of defense of Mariupol. And what is very important is to learn to act with minimal losses.

– For three months we were busy with Mariupol. The first line of defense was broken for 22 days. It is a long time. They bit him with wedges and forced the enemy, blocked in the city, to retreat. That was when we learned to fight in a modern way,” admits “Skif.” – Technically, the Ukrainian Armed Forces were superior to us. For example, they installed powerful remote cameras and watched us while they were hidden. We didn’t understand what was happening to them, but they saw us clearly and that’s why they never fought with us on an open front. As soon as we looked out, the fire riddled us. It took us time to master fighting in the city and later, near Ugledar, we learned to fight in open and rugged terrain. There is always something to learn.


Now the Vostok battalion has already gone through reorganization.

“Part of the Vostok will go to the special forces of the Russian Guard, part has already become the 114th brigade, which is now in the Avdeevsky direction,” Khodakovsky said. “But it is gratifying that all fighters, both command and staff, relate to the Vostok and not to impersonal army numbers. Rapid reaction units – SOBR under the name “Vostok” have already appeared in the Russian Guard. That is, our battalion is now legalized in Russian reality and we will fulfill the tasks of the common country. Thank God we lived to see this, we did not scatter people, but saved them. Today, the entire Russian army is performing this military feat and it is incorrect to single out “Vostok” separately. Whats Next? We all need a victory, so we will work on it non-stop.

* 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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