Insider footage of Ukrainian troops taking cover from their own helicopter forces has emerged, raising questions over the deaths of 16 troops at a checkpoint in the Donetsk Region Thursday.
The video, presumably shot by Ukrainian soldiers, shows a group of uniformed soldiers wearing Ukrainian army insignia, in addition to other men dressed in normal clothing, taking cover behind an army vehicle.
Following a huge explosion and gunfire, the soldiers are heard discussing whether they should retreat, according to a report by RT. Then two helicopter gunships approach the scene and begin to fire at the burning checkpoint.
A translation in the report notes that the man filming the scene asks “What are their doing? Are they ours?”
“Who the f*** else?” another soldier replies, as they fall back to woodland.
Approaching a soldier speaking to someone on a phone, the cameraman asks “Who are they shooting at?” “There are civilians and our soldiers there. Do you have a line to the army aviation, what the f*** is happening?”
The soldier replies “Two [Mi-]24s and one [Mi-]8 arrived. They are flying over our checkpoint and shooting at our checkpoint.”
“There are lots of corpses there. We were dousing the burning BMP [infantry combat vehicle], we thought the Mi-8 was going to pick up the bodies. Now they are shooting.” the soldier adds.
The attack was widely reported in the mainstream media as being perpetrated by pro-Russian separatists, yet no mention was made of the helicopter attack. Eyewitnesses told Russian media that the attackers were driving transit vans, with armored vehicles and combat helicopters were providing cover for them.
In addition to the 16 deaths, around 30 more troops were injured.
While the RT report cites a miscommunication between Kiev troops as potentially being to blame for the “friendly fire” incident, others say it is an indication of something more significant.
“The soldiers were ordered (by the Kiev government) to crush the resistance. But they refused to shoot at people, and were, eventually, punished for that,” a source from separatist group The self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk said.
In recent days unconfirmed reports have surfaced of Ukrainian forces defecting to the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk.
The witness also claimed that the attackers were using vehicles that belonged to the Privat-Bank, owned by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. One of the richest men in the country, Kolomoisky has taken charge of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast province, offering bounties for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.
The AP reported that it was The self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk who were to blame for the attack, adding that another group of more militant anti-Kiev rebels later had also claimed responsibility.
A Ukrainian army major told the BBC that he was certain that the attackers weren’t from the Donetsk self-defense forces, but were “mercenaries.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed that there was an attack, but only confirmed the deaths of eight of its troops.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, andPrisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.