Practically every day I come across information on how many in the Russian web space and army are disappointed about the allegedly overly humane treatment of recently captured ‘Azov’ fighters in Donetsk hospitals. Many are speaking about this, and Igor Girkin made several posts slamming Russian command for urgently discharging Russian troops to replace them with ‘Azov’ prisoners of war.
While the situation around Azov fighters remains a mystery for the most of us, we are able to obtain minor details through the Ukrainian side – ‘Azov’ unit commander D. Prokopenko’s wife said a few days ago that her husband is kept in satisfactory conditions.
How odd is that the ‘nazi’ battalion which took a central part in Russia’s justification for the February invasion is treated comparatively well after nearly a 3-month siege of Mariupol where hundreds and (more likely) thousands of Russian and DPR soldiers perished gnawing through the city’s defences? This contrasts drastically with dashing statements made by lower ranking Russian and DPR ‘representatives’ promising no mercy for the ‘nazis’ hiding in the undercity of Azovstal prior to its surrender.
Tensions within the DPR regarding this issue are rising. Here’s a translation of a post published on 27 May 2022 by ‘Soldier’s Truth’ Russian Telegram channel describing the situation in Donetsk 15th Hospital. Note that the reports of ‘exceptionally good’ treatment of ‘Azov’ started appearing nearly immediately after the evacuation/surrender of ‘Azov’ commenced.
Source: Soldier’s Truth Telegram
Regarding the development of the situation around captured ‘Azov’ fighters in the Donetsk 15th Hospital.
Humanism crosses the boundaries of reason – captives are going to be provided with massage and physiotherapy. And the difference between ‘saving a life’ and ‘restoring health’ is quite substantial, yet these terms are now deliberately mixed together into ‘well, we are treating them’, and the most unpleasant thing is that our own wounded were deprived of the same treatment for the sake of nice image of humanism for the Red Cross and other UN’s, who are not interested in our own wounded at all, yesterday they even stopped humanitarian supplies of medicines into LPDR.
And our wounded are also left without a rehabilitation center – after all, no one cancelled the DPR Ministry of Health ban on hospitalising our troops which is in effect since 16 May. Perhaps not urgently any more, but still consistently – our troops are still being discharged while no one new is being brought. The other day they brought another batch of ‘aliens’. And now the captured ‘ukrofascists’ are not only placed in a separate annex to the hospital, but also in departments of the main building, on floors 3 and 5. Around a third of beds is now taken by ‘ukrofascists’.
In fact, some captives when they see a humane attitude, start to openly being rude to doctors, and honestly answer ‘Yes, I will’ to the questions of ‘Are you going to go back to fighting if you are exchanged?’. I don’t know if there are any that have already been exchanged but I wouldn’t be surprised if so. After all, there are many ideological ‘Anti-Russians’ among them, and some are not even hiding it in the capture.
First medics are starting to leave. For instance, a dressing nurse has left, not a big deal, what’s going to happen? However, there’s only four of them, two in one neurosurgery, two in the other. Which means we lost a quarter of specialists. Sounds different, right? There are still three who can teach a new one. But if all three go, will the new ones be learning by trial and error?
This situation with collapsing medical team can be avoided, since there are specific measures that could alleviate the dangerous social tension:
- Cancel the demoralising total ban on hospitalising DPR fighters in the Donetsk 15th Hospital, providing to them at least half the beds of the main building, and ideally allocating the hospital annex to the captives.
- Send to rehabilitation centers only the seriously wounded captives in case of fear for their life (but not their health), shifting their medical supply to the Red Cross.
- Promptly transfer less seriously wounded after stabilisation of their condition to the Petrovka psychiatric hospital or detention centres/jails with provision of necessary medical assistance on the ground, even better with medicines and medics provided by the Red Cross.
And meanwhile, there are fewer and fewer of our own. And there are more and more aliens. And medics’ voices are getting louder, some of them have already quit. In a month there will be no more of our wounded here, and then we could say there is no more rehabilitation center in Donetsk. But there will be a hospital prison for UAF captives. Without a unique medical personnel, but in a convenient location on the outskirts of Donetsk.
Aside from some more obvious examples of anti-‘Azov’ propaganda in this message, such as claims that ‘Azov’ fighters are boldly proclaiming their desire to go back to war after being discharged, and the questionable statements about ‘massage and physiotherapy’ provided to captives, let’s imagine for a moment that the essence of the message is truthful, at least in that Azov fighters are actually taken care of really well.
Add to this continuing statements by Ukrainian Deputy Presidential Office Head, Aleksey Arestovych that Russia is increasing the pace of its current Donbas offensive to reach quick military goals and declare Ukraine as the one ‘who wants to continue fighting while the sensible Russia is suing for peace in the wake of a looming food shortage crisis’, and you may think Russia is deliberately sparing the ‘worst of its enemies’ to portray itself as a reasonable and humane partner who is ready for negotiations with the respected Western partners and ‘peace agents’ in Italy, Germany, France, and others.
Earlier on 17 May the official Russian prosecution asked the court to declare ‘Azov’ a ‘terrorist organisation’ which may have significant implications to their status as captives – but this might as well be one of Russia’s scare tactics or a sign of indecisiveness with regards to the prisoners of war – the court decision that was originally scheduled for 26 May has been delayed until the end of June.
Only one thing is clear – you wouldn’t want to treat and heal your worst enemies in favour of your own troops just to put them indefinitely in jail or execute them later. We are yet to see what comes out of this situation but the behaviour of Russian officials with regards to ‘Azov’ unit says that something is brewing, and we will likely find that out very soon.