The film features episodes of the Donbass war, which took place at Debaltsevo, a crucial strategic point. It became the centre for fierce fighting between the militia and government forces.
In summer 2014, fighting began in southeast Ukraine, as Ukraine’s armed forces were tasked to subdue the rebellious regions. The conflict, ongoing for months, was not seen by the Ukrainian government as a civil war but as Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
But in the streets of Donbass, Ukrainian tanks and APCs encounter angry residents, while regions of Donetsk and Lugansk declared themselves People’s Republics. The escalation began after the events at Maidan, which led to the overthrow of the country’s government, which people in southeastern Ukraine considered a coup d’état.
A former officer with Ukraine’s Security Service, Vasily Prozorov, provided secret documents that proved Kiev never intended to negotiate with southeast Ukraine. So it was no coincidence the government was quick to declare the beginning of an anti-terrorist operation. Realising what was coming, the rebel regions created self-defence groups — the Donbass militia. The most vicious fighting between the militia and government forces unfolded in Debaltsevo and its surroundings.
Debaltsevo was strategically important to both sides. So what was going on as the militia defended the area, desperately trying to maintain a link between the two rebel capitals?