On December 1st, two Ukrainian servicemen died in the separation line in Eastern Ukraine after likely stepping on a landmine.
It was later revealed that they are part of the Ukrainian security service – the SBU, and specifically from its elite unit the “Alpha.” The two were in Eastern Ukraine, with sniper rifles in an attempt to breach the ceasefire and aim at citizens of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
Despite the fact that only a week remains before the meeting of the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine within the framework of the so-called “Norman format”, the situation in Donbass is far from calm.
The formal separation of forces led to almost nothing, and that is almost entirely due to actions from the Ukrainian side. Both sides of the conflict continue to report losses regularly.
The report, published by the press center of the headquarters of the Kiev government’s operation of the United Forces, did not disclose details of what happened to the two Ukrainians:
“On December 1st, during the performance of a combat mission on unknown explosive devices, two Ukrainian servicemen died as a result of explosions of unknown devices. As a result of the explosions, our soldiers were gravely injured and died at the site.”
On December 2nd, the situation was clarified by member of Ukrainian Parliament from the Golos party, the ex-fighter of the special forces of the SBU Alpha, Roman Kostenko, who wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“A war that daily takes the lives of the best. Another tragic message from the Donbass: during the performance of a combat mission, two officers of the special forces of the Alpha SBU, Denis and Dmitry, died … They were strong, reliable and courageous soldiers, highly qualified professionals, real officers and patriots of Ukraine. Rest in peace guys.”
The death of Alpha officers in the conflict zone was confirmed by the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov:
“The Security Service of Ukraine regrets to inform that two soldiers of the special forces of the Special Operations Center of the SBU died during a combat mission in eastern Ukraine. The Service team expresses deep condolences to the families of the deceased employees Denis Volochaev and Dmitry Kaplunov.”
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky also responded to what happened on his Facebook page:
“Two dead servicemen … Eternal memory to the Heroes. Condolences to families and loved ones. Losing the best. We will certainly achieve a ceasefire. This is the cessation of childhood tears, maternal pain and the loss of our twin cities.”
According to the Ukrainian side, the two SBU servicemen were carrying out a mission to allegedly impede soldiers from the DPR from invading the Kiev-held area.
The DPR itself reported that as a result of sniper fire one of its soldiers had been wounded, and two others were killed, while they were trying to evacuate the wounded. When they countered with their own sniper fire, the DPR reportedly killed 3 fighters and wounded 2 others.
At the same time, the DPR People’s Police said that, according to intelligence, the sniper fire was carried out by “snipers from the extremist group Azov sent to the separation zone to destabilize the situation ahead of the Normandy Four meeting on December 9th.”
Both Kaplunov and Volochaev were snipers during their military service. And it is likely that they didn’t die while stepping on a landmine, but were killed on the previous day, by counter-sniper fire from the DPR.
And they were unlikely hunting and “DPR saboteurs” but were rather there to “hunt” citizens of the DPR. The presence of the Ukrainian military in the so-called “gray” zone is in itself a violation of the Minsk agreements.
The Kiev government’s attempts to sabotage the Normandy format, as well as an open and official support of activities that deteriorate the situation in Eastern Ukraine have long been a known fact. So far, however, most reports were from volunteer battalion militants and conscripts that were shelling the DPR/LPR and targeting civilians and soldiers alike. It turns out that even the most ‘elite units’ from pro-Kiev forces are also taking part in the destabilization efforts.
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