Much too trusting

This story about a Ukrainian Marine who is feeling “betrayed” by his former friends in the Russian army after they attacked is a little bit sad.

‘Sorry brother’: Ukraine marines betrayed by Russian raid

Just a year ago, Ruslan, a marine in Ukraine’s top battalion stationed in the Crimean port of Feodosiya, helped Russian soldiers paint their armoured personnel carrier for a military parade.

On Monday, he spotted the same vehicle being used to block the gate to his base as Russians showered its barracks with tear gas and stun grenades in a pre-dawn raid that took the unarmed Ukrainians by complete surprise.

“We thought of them as our own, as our brothers,” said Ruslan, who declined to give his last name.

“We trusted them… and they trusted us,” he told AFP at a Feodosiya cafe after spending hours in Russian custody.

“And now they received these orders (to attack us), and what they did was completely inhuman. It’s not the Christian way.”

Ruslan, who is in his late 20s, said he was torn by Moscow’s seizure and annexation of Crimea as his parents live in Ukraine and his wife and children were born on the peninsula.

The Feodosiya base, where he served for six years, is one of the last Ukrainian military bases in Crimea to fall under Russian control.

But it was not the tear gas that stung these marines the most — it was the Russians who broke a promise to allow them to leave the base peacefully on Monday in exchange for their arms.

“There was an agreement that we hand over the weapons… and at noon today we were to lower the flag and drive out on our trucks to go to the mainland. But that’s not what happened,” Ruslan said.

The unit locked up its armoury and handed it over — but then was woken up by a raid at 4:00 am.

– ‘They took everything’ –

“They fired bullets at us while we were completely unarmed,” said Yevgeniy, another marine.

“My friend had his nose broken with the butt of a rifle for nothing, he put up no resistance.

“They took our military IDs, phones, money — everything they could lay their hands on.”

The marines said that if they had known this was going to happen, they would never have surrendered their weapons.

Tis a pity they forgot that the only “good guys” are the ones standing next to you with a rifle.

I would also say that I could almost understand his trust of the Russian soldiers, except for what Putin ordered his army to do to the Georgians less than a decade ago. Their commander should have better instructed them about fraternizing with anyone connected with Putin.

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