On the evening of the first day of the war, Trostiantes, 27 km from the border, was already plowed by 4 tracksAnd The Kantemir Tank Division, an elite unit of Russian forces. Three days later, more than a thousand soldiers held their parade at the city station, massing there a huge amount of tanks and machine guns, which could hit targets 30 km away. From the city center, the Russian army bombarded the surrounding towns, and the Sumy region was the starting point for the great assault on Kyiv that had just failed, leaving a wasteland.
Crossing city before the attack on Kyiv
The Russian plan was as follows: cross the city and continue in the direction of Kyiv. Trostians and the neighboring city of Okhtyrka were to be just transit cities, but our army [ukrainienne] They offered resistance that the Russians did not expect, ”explains Leonid Klezoby, director of the military administration of the Okhtyrka region, 12 kilometers away. As a result, the Russian advance was halted and the Sumy region became a battlefield. Hundreds of Russian soldiers slept at the Trostantiens station and took control of private houses.
Very quickly, the passengers began to loot shops: alcohol, cigarettes, sausages, phones … “Since February 27, Russian soldiers began shooting at people who were trying to escape in the station area, says Viktor Ovcharenko, a 58-year-old construction worker. Two young men were wounded Shot in the legs, and neither help nor relatives were able to reach the bodies for two days. A few days later, two young women were killed by snipers. Every day, two or three civilians are killed.”
Very quickly, the elite soldiers were replaced by younger and less experienced troops, Buryats (an ethnic group from Siberia, editor’s note), a few Chechens, as well as fighters from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. As the days passed, their behavior deteriorated and violence against civilians increased. “Until March 19, we were able to get information, but after that, we are no longer able to charge our phones, and there is no more electricity in the city,” testifies Najda Bakrani, 73, who lives next to the hospital, where she still works. nurse.
” day, [les soldats russes] They set up their tanks in front of the hospital and fired at close range, when there was no military target, Nadezhda continued. We had time with the chief medical officer to evacuate the patients and we stayed with them in an underground shelter, while they kept shooting at the hospital for two days. Near the station, Yuri, 58, emerged from a five-story red-brick building, completely charred. He is the only inhabitant who remained there for the entire period of the occupation, and had to coexist with Russian soldiers.
“It’s not a classic war that happened here, it’s pure horror.”
Orcas [le nom que les Ukrainiens donnent aux soldats russes, NDLR] Yuri said that the Ukrainians fired, but we did not see any impact and the structure did not move. Before the second shooting, I saw them with my own eyes firing rocket launchers into our building and ran downstairs. »From March 18 to 26, 93And The Ukrainian mechanized brigade launched the counterattack. For eight days, the area was bombarded with artillery and Bayraktar drones, and then during close combat with Javelin and NLAW anti-tank missiles (American and British, editor’s note).
The station square, which is ironically named allée de la 40And The Soviet army, wrecked, there is no longer a sound building. Lunar landscape. Carcasses of disassembled tanks and howitzers lie on the ground like dead animals. Grad rockets and unexploded cluster munitions spread across the overturned land. Explosives experts are busy clearing the town, but even the cemetery is surrounded by occupiers, and two women on a bike there are murdered in cold blood by Russian soldiers.
The mayor, Yuri Bova, gives a tally of “fifty civilians killed during the occupation,” an underestimate, even if the city councilman refuses to talk about hundreds. While visiting Trostantiens to restore electricity and water, the governor of the Sumy region Dmytro Zhivitsky also fears greater bloodshed. “We know that the bodies were buried in the gardens, by the side of the roads, and any assessment is now impossible, he thinks, that it is not a classic war that took place here, it is pure horror.”