Movie “Ilovaisk 2014. Donbas Battalion” Screened in Kyiv
The Battle of Ilovaisk became one of the most tragic pages of modern Ukrainian military history. According to official figures — 366 Ukrainian servicemen and law enforcement were killed during this battle
A Ukrainian movie titled “Ilovaisk 2014. Donbas Battalion” premiers in Kyiv. The movie features both professional actors and Ukrainian soldiers who took part in the liberation of Ilovaisk. It’s based on news materials and stories told by the service personnel.
On the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Illoviak, a new film, based on the real-life events leading up to the Russian-led forces’ massacre of Ukrainian soldiers, has been presented.
The idea for the project came from Taras Kostanchuk, the assault brigade commander in the Donbas battalion during that deadly fight. During intense fighting, he and a fellow soldier – found themselves behind enemy lines. For 22 days, local residents were helping them hide. After returning home, Taras told the story to one of his friends – a journalist – that’s when the idea for the film was born.
“He was fascinated by this idea. He said it was fantastic. I suggested that we create a full-fledged military drama. To show the “green corridor”, so that it would stay in history and in people’s memories. To show how horrifying it was, how mean and unfair. They promised they would leave and then started shooting,” he said.
Taras Kostanchuk plays the lead part. This is his first time on-camera. Hundreds of other veterans also took part in the making of the film.
“It was an extra responsibility for all of us. It’s one thing when an actor plays some abstract character about whom they’ve heard and read. And it’s a whole different thing when they play a person standing in front of them. They can help, tell something, inspire. But at the same time, it’s not that easy. For me as well. Because someone was constantly standing behind my back, in front of director’s monitors, telling how it really happened,” director Ivan Tymchenko said.
The script was more than two years in the making. It was based on news stories and personal accounts of the Ukrainian servicemen, who took part in the operation to liberate Ilovaisk.
More than 170 cinemas in Ukraine will screen the film. It’s also available for rental.
“I believe that there should be more movies, more books and creative works about our modern history. Because until the end of 2013, we lived like it was a dream. Ukraine was independent, but mentally it was still part of the post-Soviet space. And it was only after these events that the Ukrainian nation began to crystallize,” actress Olena Vasylenko said.
“There were four cities. We started with Lutsk, then followed Stryi, Chernivtsi, and Khmelnytskyi. They greeted us very warmly. It was incredible. In the end, people stood up. You know this feeling when the movie ended, but you’re still in that atmosphere. Space is filled with some movie magic. And it works. People are extremely grateful,” actress Anastasiya Renard said.
The Battle of Ilovaisk became one of the most tragic pages of modern Ukrainian military history. In August 2014, the Ukrainian army and volunteer fighters managed to take control of most of the strategically important city. Then regular Russian troops advanced and encircled a large group of Ukrainian servicemen. In the last week of that month, President Vladimir Putin said a humanitarian corridor should be established, to allow the surrounded soldiers to leave. The Russian hybrid forces demanded the Ukrainians leave armored vehicles and ammunition behind. Once the soldiers began to retreat, the Kremlin-backed forces opened fire.
According to official figures — 366 Ukrainian servicemen and law enforcement were killed. The real number may be much higher.