Ukraine War Day #113: Azot Nitrogen Survivors Tell Their Story

Dear Readers:

Today I have this story by reporter Alexandra Yudina.

Ukrainian soldiers, along with foreign mercenaries, are still holed up in bomb shelter of the Azot (Nitrogen) plant in the city of Severodonetsk. The plant is completely surrounded, on all sides, by Russian and LPR forces. The Ukrainian soldiers have persistently refused to allow their civilian hostages to leave by a proposed humanitarian corridor. Until last week people didn’t realize that there was a back entrance, and they were surprised when a few civilians suddenly just appeared and calmly walked out, like a stroll in the park. This is story is about two of these people and their children.

Anna has a grown son and two much smaller children, ages five and eight. Her grown son is married to Alina, who has a two-year-old baby. The two women (mother and daughter-in-law), along with the three children spent TWO MONTHS in the Azot bomb shelter, which is located near the so-called “second entrance” to the plant. The women had initially entered the plant voluntarily, seeking shelter after a shell destroyed their home. But once inside, they were not allowed to leave. After they finally escaped, speaking to Russian reporters from Ria Novosti, they were asked how many foreign mercenaries were holed up in the plant.

The Azot plant, in better days.

“There are many mercenaries. Quite a lot of them,” Anna revealed. Exactly how many, I am not sure. They kept their distance from the others and spoke mainly just with each other, in the English language. And also in other foreign languages.”

She added that the Ukrainian and foreign fighters would not permit the peaceful civilians to leave the bomb shelter: “They explained to us that it is very dangerous outside, there was some kind of purge [round-up] going on. They said not to go out until evening falls.” Anna and Alina have male relatives on the outside (including Alina’s husband), who were trying to bring them food and supplies into the plant, but the fighters would not let them in. The two women bided their time and waited. On June 10 they noticed that the Ukrainian soldiers were distracted and letting down their guard. They decided to make a break for it. The group of two women and three children simply walked out of the plant, on foot. “My husband was waiting for us,” said Alina. “We ran out to him, he took us and brought us here.”

“We made it,” Anna adds. Currently the two women and their families have been resettled in the neighboring village of Novaya Astrakhan, which is under Russian/LPR control.

Anna and Alina have been temporarily resettled in the town of Nova Astrakhan, Northeast of the big city of Severodonetsk.

yalensis: To me, this deceptively simple story illustrates and confirms some important points about behavior in crisis. I have never been in such a situation myself and hope I never am, but I have read that it is best, in such circumstances (for example, being held hostage) to be patient and watch for a chance to escape. Above all, don’t panic and don’t fall into passivity. Don’t be brainwashed by Stockholm Syndrome. Don’t be rash, and don’t take unnecessary risks, but do keep your eyes open and wait patiently for an opportunity. When you see that opportunity, don’t hesitate for an instant, just grab the kids and go for it, like Anna and Alina did.

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15 Responses to Ukraine War Day #113: Azot Nitrogen Survivors Tell Their Story

  1. Liborio Guaso says:

    Those mercenaries must be professional assassins who would have killed thousands under different Western flags but apparently the final hour has come, their last adventure.


    • yalensis says:

      I remember a week or so back watching a video (some Westie MSM, I can’t remember who) where these fighters first arrived in Severodonetsk, getting off the bus and looking pretty cocky, bragging how they were going to push the Russians out of the city. I reckon they were told by their handlers, that was the goal. Like Rick in Casablanca, they were just misinformed.


  2. colliemum says:

    Thank you for giving us yet again a report which looks beyond the daily military statistics. It’s so easy to forget that there are human beings, on both sides, who suffer and bleed like us, regardless of their being Ukries or Russians. All the justified anger about those neonaughties must not make us forget that.
    So there are foreign mercenaries, ahem: veteran soldiers in that big plant … are they trying to ‘play Azovstal’? Moreover – wasn’t that English soldier who died stationed in that plant? since he was shot, as we were told, is it perhaps permissible to ask if he was shot because he tried to surrender?
    I’m so happy for those two women and their kids to get out! What courage and what resilience!


  3. S Brennan says:

    These “foreign mercenaries” sound an awful lot like 3LA terrorists in Syria and Libya and that’s probably because, DC’s 3LA-money is better in Ukraine.

    You gotta love Langley, always touting how they can take over countries on the cheap…which if you recall the post WW II years…the 3LAs have bravely lead the USA into it’s longest and most costly wars which…have ended in abject failure…heck-of-a-job guys…heck-of-a-job.


    • yalensis says:

      A lot of analysts have pointed out how Ukraine is, in many ways, from the CIA perspective, a copy/paste of the Syria project. Just a Mad-Libs substitution of Isis to Azov, etc. Same writers, same script, slightly different actors.


  4. Stephen T Johnson says:

    It seems to me that the foreign mercenaries are dead men walking – either die in combat or surrender and face a firing squad. That’s got to mess with their heads.


    • yalensis says:

      If I was them, I’d just bust out in a big group with guns blazing, and see what happens.
      Isn’t that called a “Thunder Run” ?


      • Stephen T Johnson says:

        That’s what the cats at Azovstal/Ilyich tried, I believe, at first. After a bunch of them got kinetically denazified, I think surrender started to look pretty good.
        But I suspect the reality of that dilemma is a significant part of why the mercenaries were sent.
        Sucks to be them.


        • yalensis says:

          Sure does suck.
          Every morning when I wake up I pray (to a non-existent god): “Thank you, dear non-existent god, for allowing me to be the kind of person who wakes up in my own bed, looking forward to a nice cup of coffee and then going to work in my ordinary but still fulfilling job; when I could have been waking up in some stinky bunker in Azot chemical plant, with no way out except a firing squad, as the best choice!”

          Liked by 1 person

  5. square coats says:

    Thank you for this. Not to be skipping over the many important parts of what happened, but I was curious if you could recommend something(s) you read about what to do in hostage situations? I’m interested to try to learn more about this.


    • yalensis says:

      Hi, square coats. I didn’t read a book about hostage situations. Where I got my info was from a training course I had to take at my place of employment. (This was a couple of years ago.) It was a required safety course called “Active shooter”. The course lasted for about 4 hours, there was an instructor who was a member of the local police department, then we also watched a short film, and then we went outside for a couple of hours to learn some judo tricks and stuff, like what to do if a thug grabs you around the wrist, how to break a hold, etc. I confess I was miserable at this, I’m a total pussy and my partner almost broke my arm when we were practicing it.

      Anyhow, the cop instructor was pretty good, he was the one who gave all the advice about how to respond to an active shooter (=throw a cup of hot coffee at him), or what to do if you’re a hostage in a bank robbery, that sort of thing. I agree this is a fascinating topic. If you want to learn more about it, I would recommend looking online, I imagine there are lots of books and videos on this topic.
      In any case, thanks for reading my blogpost, I appreciate it!


      • square coats says:

        Thanks for your response! I had a similar training at one point several years ago but I think the instructor we had was much less creative than yours!


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