“We are all ourselves – “Donetsk wolves”

Avdiivka fortifications, despite the year of the NMD, continue to hold Donetsk from the north. From there, from the side of the industrial zone, as well as from the villages lying further away, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are conducting continuous fire attacks on the city: during a recent shelling in the center of the capital of the DPR, four dozen rockets were fired from the Grad system. According to the military, it is pointless to take the fortifications head-on, the future is to cut off supply routes and surround them. On the Avdeevka front, the enemy, on the defensive, continues to maintain a garrison of many thousands. Moreover, there is always a threat of its breakthrough into Donetsk itself. Various Russian units are defending this strategically important zone. The positions of the fighters, standing some 50-100 meters from the Ukrainian trenches, were visited by a special Izvestia correspondent.

“How can”

Are you sure you want to go to the line of contact? – they ask us several times in the Pyatnashka brigade, whose volunteers are standing in the area where we are going. – Exactly.

And where else to go in Avdiivka? Although, as our escorts will tell us, we will not see anything but a typical featureless landscape – a forest trimmed by shells and broken buildings – we will not see there. But we can hear a lot. For example, Ukrainian speech from nearby trenches.

The name “Pyatnashka” comes from the number of volunteers – 15, who came to the DPR from Abkhazia in 2014. Now it is a brigade. It includes, among others, a division of the famous Night Wolves motorcycle club. In the fall, its leader, the Surgeon, announced the formation of a detachment, and dozens of motorcyclists from all over the country went to the Donbass, forming a consolidated company. They stand in this very Avdiivka. We are going to them.

Snow is falling in flakes, the sky is hanging low, and for the drones that patrol here tirelessly on clear days, the weather is non-flying. “And that means,” an escort named Pavel tells us, “if they beat them, then blindly. And we can get to the desired point relatively calmly.”

Before entering the positions at one of the lines we meet adult men in uniform. Experienced, working people who have seen life, many are closer to 50.

– Where are the guys from? I ask.

The men in the shelter are warming themselves by the fire, and cautiously look at the sky, from there an uninvited guest – a VOG grenade – can fly in at any moment.

“Veterans unit, 60th air assault brigade,” answers 49-year-old Valera Chimit from Tuva (the call sign “Yenisei” is drawn on his helmet with a marker) and briefly tells his story. – My son-in-law is fighting in the LPR. The eldest son is also a contract worker. I worked as a forester at my place, in the village of Cherbi. But after the Crimean bridge he could not stand it, he went too. How can…

“Sleep off!”

We move in a small column, the distance from person to person is 5 meters. By rushing through open spaces we reach a trench – there you can exhale. We bend and crawl on our haunches, winding, further. In case of artillery raids inside, “fox holes” were dug in the ground – pockets in which you can wait out the shelling.

In one place we run into a heap of wood and metal.

“Yesterday this didn’t happen yet,” the military states. “Smashed with a direct hit!”

We make our way through boards and iron pins, tearing clothes.

A few minutes later we reach the point of arrival – a concrete underground fortification, in which a group of “Night Wolves” and mobilized from Bashkiria and Tatarstan hold a post.

Inside, as expected, dim. Instead of a stove (in which, as the song says, “fire beats”), there is an electric heater powered by batteries. Trestle beds and bunks, on which, if they manage to take a nap, then, as the fighters will explain, for an hour or two. The rest of the time, “one must keep one’s ears, and not before sleep somehow.”

The senior biker volunteers are the commander of the 1st squad, Ivan Teneri (the call sign comes from the name of the motorcycle). To the question “how is the situation?”, he describes:

– They don’t let you rest. At night our trenches were shelled with 120-mm mortars, you saw. The allied guys immediately supported us with fire from the Grads, forced us to shut up. Clearing rubble in the morning.

On the chest of the commander is a radio station, magazines for AK, a first aid kit, a bayonet-knife. Scissors – to cut clothes on the wounded (“Had to use?” – “Had to”). Evacuation cable – in case you need to pull out the “300th”. Nearby, underfoot, there are ropes for sleds, on which they pull sledges in those very trenches from and to positions in the snow – with food, firewood, ammunition.

Teneri from the Saratov region. Instructor in the motorcycle tourism section for teenagers. He has been standing with his “brothers” on the Avdeevka line (only such an appeal appears among the “Night Wolves”) since November. According to him, he yearns for motorcycles and speed. Although they did not arrive here empty-handed: they brought special equipment, swamps.

In general, the volunteer believes, motor vehicles at the front should probably be given special attention. For example, the same ATV or snowmobile is the best means of transportation in those areas where a car or truck cannot pass, from where, again, you need to pull out the wounded or deliver the necessary.

Today is Teneri’s birthday – 40 years.

– How can you do it? – Seagull. Sweet. The lads promised to deliver the cake. — And what gift would you like? — Get some sleep!

From all over the country

The names of cities are inscribed on the concrete wall of the underground fortification. These are the autographs of those motorcyclists who stood and are standing directly at this point.

“Dolgoprudny,” reads one of the guys. – Shilovo, Ryazan region. Torzhok. Istra. Kuban. Saratov region. Kharkiv…

A cat is spinning under the feet of the heater. Her tail is pierced by a projectile. Repeatedly shell-shocked, she is not afraid of anything and almost does not react to breaks.

“They once tied a St. George ribbon to her,” the fighters say. – She walked for several days, including on the positions of the enemy. And then she returned without a ribbon, but with a small tied Ukrainian flag …

Immediately in the labyrinths of the fortifications, the mobilized are based. Rome from Kazan. Shoma, Tuz, Ramses from the Bashkir city of Salavat. The difference from the “Wolves” is noticeable to the naked eye. Some are here for the fourth month, others for a week. The first ones feel at home. The second one is being developed.

“But you can’t say that the guys were forcibly driven here,” the motorcyclists share. – They demonstrate amazing coherence, mutual assistance. Be brave! We are working with them. Although we do not let them go to hot areas yet, we save them.

Ramses, 41, is a former ambulance driver. He says that in the autumn he received a summons, he came to the military registration and enlistment office. But when they found out that he was working, in fact, on the same “front line”, only in the civilian sphere, they sent him back: “Go home, we will pick up a replacement!”.

“He didn’t leave,” Ramses shrugs. — There are other ambulance drivers.

On the edge

The shooter of the “Night Wolves” Alexei, call sign “Bars” – comes from Istra, near Moscow. His grandfather during the Great Patriotic War commanded a quartermaster company of the 8th motorcycle regiment. And Aleksey has been on two-wheeled transport since the age of 17. Since 2014 – in a motorcycle club. During these 8.5 years, he traveled thousands of kilometers, participated in motorcycle shows in Sevastopol, in New Year trees in Moscow, when bikers give big performances with tricks and fireworks.

“This is very important when you are among your own,” Bars explains. – In ordinary life on the road, we have unspoken rules – to stop on the highway if someone has an emergency. Help in everything. Plus, all physically prepared, technically savvy. Now there is an opportunity to show these qualities here.” “It is not by chance that we ended up at the front,” I conclude. “Yes. As they say: we are not interested in anything that does not kill us. That is, if you walk, then on the edge. — Have you met with the local Donetsk “Night Wolves”? But we ourselves are all “Donetsk wolves.” – Has the perception of the NWO changed somehow after being in the epicenter? – From here, from the inside, you understand that not everything is as simple as it seems from the outside. But not everything is bad either. Therefore, I know that this year will be a victory. Pass these words on “citizen”!

Sergei Prudnikov, Avdiivka

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