Anatomy of a Bloodbath


It was a textbook ambush, fighters say, on volunteer militias who’d been practically abandoned by the Ukrainian army that was supposed to support them.

The late August massacre of volunteer troops leaving the strategic town of Ilovaisk through what they’d been promised was a “humanitarian corridor” was one of the bloodiest single episodes so far in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, leaving at least 100 dead. The conflict has now killed at least 2,600 people.

But in the days since, in interviews, volunteer fighters who escaped the bloodbath also described the battle as a turning point — one that revealed the lack of communication and trust between the three dozen volunteer battalions that have sprung up to assist Ukraine’s run-down military and the army leadership, which has been beset by complaints that it has treated the volunteers as cannon fodder.

Foreign Policy

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