Surviving the Deadly Battle of Ilovaisk
31 August, 2018

Serhiy Shvachko is an officer, who has served in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces since he was 17. In the summer of 2014, Shvachko was the communications chief for the 51st Separate Mechanized Brigade.

In August of that year, he was tasked with restoring Ukrainian control to Ilovaisk. Ukrainian soldiers had been storming the city on a daily basis since the start of the month and, on August 18, after the Donbas battalion’s arrival, Ukrainian units captured half of Ilovaisk territory, up to the train station.

The situation drastically changed on the night of August 23, when Russian troops arrived. On August 29, the military leaders took the decision to withdraw from Ilovaisk.

At that point, the 51st Brigade were stationed near Mnohopillya, south of Ilovaisk.

They were caught under fire as they were leaving and Shvachko was wounded. He was forced to surrender to the Russians, along with a dozen other soldiers.

Shvachko was handed back to the Ukrainian side the next day and was taken from the conflict zone to a hospital in Dnipro.