Essence of Time unit in Donbass. Donetsk airport. Nov-Dec 2014. Schiza: Baptism by fire


The three of us arrived to Donetsk. It turned out to be very easy: you cross the border and customs — and that’s it, war. We crossed the border and were met by a militiaman on a car. One may say that this was our first acquaintance in the militia. We knew the call sign of the person who was supposed to meet us. We approached the car, introduced ourselves, got in, and started moving. En-route we learned from the driver where an Orthodox church is, and stopped there for a moment (our driver turned out to be Ishym — a calm man with a black beard and glasses; he met us from home and he saw us off home. A good man, I got to know him better on Vostok base during my injury).

There was a service underway in the church. We entered this holy place. An old lady met us. We explained that we are volunteers from Russia and came to the church to pray. She heard us out and shed tears.

There were people in the church, a service was underway. A priest approached us, made a sign of the cross over us and gave us his blessing. We put the candles, crossed ourselves, and went towards the exit. The same old lady met us at the exit. She gave us little icons with saints, she cried again, thanked us. We said goodbye, crossed ourselves and left. Having left the church yard, we got in the car, where we were waited. En-route we found out that we are heading to Vostok base.

Having arrived to the base, we got acquainted to our brothers from Essence of Time Information Center. That’s when the guys explained to us that en-route we were assisted by Essence of Time cell. That’s how we got to Essence of Time Independent Tactical Group. The guys from the Information Center took us to the dining hall, we ate some food, and we were sent to the headquarters, where we waited for another Essence of Time member to come for us. And he did: a tall, husky man with a kind smile. His call sign was Lom and he used to be a miner. This man took us from this base to the Essence of Time rotation base, where we met our other brothers-in-arms, received gear, weapons, went through brief basic military training. A few days later we left the place with full gear and went to our positions in Donetsk airport, where my baptism by fire took place.

Once me and my bro-in-arms had to do a three hours-long guard duty. We took up the duty in the night, having relieved the previous group, assumed our positions, got comfortable. We had to observe and listen to what was going on around. It was dark, but eyes got used to it quickly, and we were already more or less able to navigate around the building, even though we were told by the previous day guards what is where. Some time passed. The walkie-talkie was crackling, something was being said on air, the junta was shelling our positions. Sometimes 82mm mortar shells and something else were flying above our roof. In general, it was quite OK for a situation that was there at the moment. But soon an unforeseen situation that I often keep coming back to occurred.

My companion, call sign August, and I were on guard post, nothing foreboded anything bad. And that’s when I heard a weird noise half a meter away from me. I quickly flicked the safety of my assault rifle off, pointed it into the dark corner and whispered to my companion, “Do you see anything?” He instantly replied, “No.” We hunkered down like two hunters waiting for their prey. 20 or 30 seconds later something rustled near August, perhaps one meter away from him, but we couldn’t see anything again, it was so dark that it was tempting to shoot. And the noise and rustling was quiet, not like one of a human, but still, any rustling on a guard post is suspicious. That’s when the noise got louder.

I already wanted to shoot, but my companion was ahead of me with his words and told me that it’s a cat. After which something incredible started: it made itself comfortable, dug a hole for itself and started pooping one meter away from us. And she had to find a place near us, not somewhere outside! We tried not to laugh as hard as we could, and we succeeded at that.

I had to go home after I was wounded in my shoulder by a shell fragment in the exact same place where we were on duty and where the cat showed us what’s it got. I called August from home, we remember this situation and laughed for a while.

There were many different situations that happened to me during my stay in Donetsk airport territory. My baptism by fire, being on Vostok base is the most vivid impression that has to do with war and peace.

Baptism by fire

All of this happened on the second day after we arrived to our combat position. This is how the baptism by fire of my bro-in-arms, call sign Chupa, who came together with me from our Motherland, and mine, happened.

It was day, my companion and I arrived from the observation post, entered a house to have a snack. While I was eating, my bro-in-arms suggested we went bring the documents to “Monastery” position to a man with call sign Pyatnitsa (God rest his soul, he was a good man and commander). Nothing foreboded the trouble. We left the house and strolled towards the monastery. En-route we asked our guys what is nearest and safest way. We went through a village. Mortar shells were heard exploding somewhere. We passed a large destroyed house (it used to serve as cover for Cossacks), moved along the bridge and froze.

That’s when the most terrifying started — and there was no such thing as fear left after this. We entered the foliage, and somewhere nearby a grenade launcher shell exploded not far away. My companion and I put up our guards, started to leave the windbreak, and that’s when the explosions got more frequent. We had to make a decision for further actions. It was not an option to go back. To follow the road, as everybody did, was dangerous: somewhere not far from it shells were exploding. Well, we decided to cross the road and approach the monastery through the destroyed cemetery, which is what we did. This saved our lives.

We were running through the cemetery. The shelling got heavier, 82mm mortar shells were being fired. We ran through the open cemetery, the road was shelled by mortars, the control tower was on our left — junta’s sniper was firing at us from it. Bullets were whizzing by and hitting the ground, I noticed little fountains of earth rising near me a couple of times. The terminals of the airport were seen ahead. Dodging around the cemetery, we reached the monastery. Having taken cover behind its corner, we caught our breath (Ukrop’s shelling ceased) and dashed towards the building, in which were our guys.

Having approached the door, we discovered that it was locked. We shouted the password and they opened it for us. That’s how we met Sparta unit guys, who were on this position at the time. They didn’t expect to see us, since they thought that we didn’t go due to the shelling, even though we said on air that “two are moving — expect guests”. They were surprised. We sat inside the house, got out cigarettes with our shaking hands and smoked to relieve stress a bit.

No more than a minute, perhaps, passed since we entered the building, and a 120mm mortar shell hit near the window. Blackout was blasted from the windows, there was buzzing in our ears, dust raised in the room. And that’s when I saw a man with concussion for the first time in my life — a warrior from Sparta battalion. The concussion was heavy, and all of its symptoms emerged. We saw a disfigured iron door, which covered our path just a minute ago, etc.

We waited for it to get quiet, got acquainted with the guys, and one of the “Spartans” took us to “Tryoshka” position, where we needed to deliver the documents. Having reached the place, we tried to find our friends with whom we arrived here, to the position. They weren’t there — they were somewhere else. We found Pyatnitsa and gave him the documents, told them what happened. He laughed at us and expressed joy that we were alive. We smoked with him a bit, talked, and, having clarified the short route, went back.

Now we were running along the road that was shelled by mortars, I even spotted shells sticking out from the pavement. This time we reached our house quickly, sat down to take some rest. Talked to the guys about the situation and one of the “Spartans” told us that the cemetery is mine-infested and that nobody knows where the tripwires and mines are, and also noted that we are desperate guys, and maybe that’s why Pyatnitsa laughed at us. But that we will never find out anymore.

That’s how my baptism by fire happened.


Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass

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