Oleksandr Sarabun, codename “Vinnytsia”, “Donbas” battalion

Soldiers ran over to us, "Who is this?" "Who is this?" And someone said, "The wounded ukrops from Ilovaysk." The men shouted at him, "Fuck, you should have killed them, they had killed so many of our men!" They started recording video on their cell phones, and someone told them, “Did you think they were a sheeple? They are warriors, they know what they are dying for. And what are we doing here?” I thought, "Holy shit! A Russian man is saying such things."

Oleh Zharikov, codename “Zhora”, “Donbass” battalion

In the evening, 3 pairs of our snipers came together to decide what to do next: either to leave or to stay. Everyone knew that if we were captured, snipers would not be among their favorites. I decided for myself that I would not leave the wounded. Everyone who was there made their own choice. Half of the Russians did not understand where they were. They believed that Donetsk was part of the Russian Federation, a kind of a regional center in the Rostov region. Then Motorola's men came, aimed their assault rifles at us, flicked off safety catches, and made us jump to "Khto Ne Skache Toy Moskal" [Whoever does not jump is a Moskal]. It all looked like execution by firing squad.

Finogin Maksym called Lex

The Russians gave us an ultimatum: either we give up, or they shoot us with artillery. We decided to go out without weapons. There were many injured, who needed help. The Russians gave us their word that the day after they would transfer us to the Ukrainian side through the buffer zone and would take care of the wounded.

Anna Ilyushchenkova, codename Murka, “Donbas” battalion

Some Aleksey from Ivanovo with a wound to the stomach lay near me. They once again drove us no one knows where, across the fields. I had been given an injection of a good painkiller, because I did feel pain, but it was dull. On our way we stopped and picked up the guys. It seemed to me that we drove for a very long time.
We were brought to a very cool hospital, a Russian one. I realized that they were Russians because of their words, “Why do you need all of this? You'd better come to us, to Baikal, to our lakes, rather than fight here”. I had yellow stripes on my clothes, and they noticed this when they were loading me into a helicopter. As soon as they saw the stripes, they returned me back and threw me to the ground. The nights were very cold. In the morning FSB employees interrogated me, they said themselves that they were from the Federal Security Service. They knew our guys' codenames.

Ivan Rebar, codename “Khmara”

I was injured on August 24, when our “Uncle Petya” [Poroshenko] was organizing the parade. We mopped the first checkpoint, then the second one, the third one. It was either the fourth or the fifth checkpoint. I climbed into a trench, there was a dug-out and three "non-Russians". They started shooting at me. I fired back, and then got injured. I am grateful to the guys, of course, that they covered me, and shot them; only of them managed to escape. At least two of them stayed there.

Khorunzhyi Artem, codename “Grek”.

Summer, everything was burning, and there was still grass on the side, which had not been burned yet. In fact, that was a pretty good summer day; bullets, debris, and shells were constantly whistling above your heads. And you lie and think - maybe you should fall asleep? Well, in this particular situation, there is nothing you can do. You cannot move too. Captivity itself was really terrible. Every day someone was beaten up, they broke people's bones. Nobody knew when all of this would end. You are always on that hook that maybe they would exchange us tomorrow. Or maybe the day after tomorrow. There was some absolutely fantastic gossip.

Codename ‘Filin’, battalion ‘Donbas’

I am very sorry that Ilovaisk is perceived as a tragedy. Since with such tragic perception, we forget about or do not see all that bravery and heroic activity of our combatants in Ilovaisk. Right, people perished, got into captivity, went missing. But we all knew why we went there and realized the possible consequences. We must commemorate those who perished. Ilovaisk should be depicted as the great battle in which people showed the best traits of their character. That was heroism. That was the turning point. Ilovaisk launched Minsk agreements. Ilovaisk compartmentalized it all: what could be done further and what we could do. And people throughout Ukraine say that Ukrainian fighters, people, citizens can protect their country.

Oleksandr Deineha, codename “Chub” [wisp of hair], “Donbas”

I thought that a man who did not serve in the army was not a real man. Thus, when there was such a situation in the country, and when the aggressor came and the hostilities began, I understood that I had to go. Moreover, in the internal troops I had served in the military unit "3027", where our "Donbas" battalion started to be garrisoned. Knowing that I had the necessary knowledge, I joined. I personally spoke with sergeants, rank and file, and a junior lieutenant. All of them were representatives of the Russian Federation. They did not deny this. This besiegement cost us great losses: the dead, the missing. Not only did we destroy the enemy's machinery during those hours, but I saw with my own eyes a Kamaz in which they (the Russians – editor's note) gathered their KiA (dead people – editor's note). We even helped them to load the dead into the Kamaz.

Nickname Moskit, “Donbass”, Kherson

"And they were waiting for some kind of mythical “Pravyi Sector”, which was supposed to enter Ilovaisk. They did not hide that they were Russians. They were persuaded that some Bandera men would kill for the Russian language. My communication with them in Russian was a hacking pattern. They could not put together that picture that was in the head and the one that they saw before their eyes.”