The length of Kyiv Fortified Region was 85 km which included 300 bunkers. Regarding this huge military protection the Soviet army held the position against the Nazi during 71 days, more than three months of July-September 1941. Hitler was very upset with a fact that his army got stuck near Kiev. Till now German forces achieved surprising victories and broke down into some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine. Till the middle of August Nazi started to take Kyiv into the deathful circle. They passed the Dnieper river therefore four soviet arms were on the edge of defeat.
There is a recollaction of a soldier who defended Kyiv:
“July 4. Panic spread quickly around Kiev. Everyone tried to go from here. KGB police was the first one who left the city. People saw officials taking their families and going to the east. Majority of people did not have any money to go somewhere. Army officials started to take 15-years old boys to the army.
July, 16. All scaremongers ran away and the city became quite. Most citizens dig ditches in the streets. Even women do it. Kyiv citizens still keep a hope that Kyiv will resist Nazi attracts and relay on defensive line and Soviet soldiers who face an enemy on the western neighbourhood of the city”.
Around Kremenishche village in metal bunker № 131 llieutenant Yakunin together with 11 soldiers held a position. 19-years old Yakunin who had just finished a military school was taken to the war. Anlike other bunkers the bunker № 131 had two advantages. Firstly, it was one of all Kiev bunkers which was made of metal but not concrete. Secondly, it was placed on the high hill therefore Soviet garrison controlled two main roads to Kyiv. Around early August 1941 the German army started tough attack and Soviet infantry division left their positions.
Even when the village was taken by Nazi the bunker defenders still took off attacks and disturbed the German army during some days. At least the Nazi threw a tank mine inside of the bunker. All garrison died inside.
Around 25 thousand Soviet soldiers died during the battle for Kyiv. But the Nazi had also essential lost – around 5 thousand soldiers. Today, Germen civil people gather money for reconstruction a cemetery of the soldiers who died near Kyiv. When I walked along burial stones I got a thought that soldiers from both sides where just people: very young mainly till 25 years old. Two dictatorial regimes pushed them together.
The memory of the Soviet soldier Mikhail Pokotilo:
“The Nazi took Pirogovo village. Our division was placed in a forest nearby. Beetween our and German divisions there was a field with a well. We both needed water and took it from the well. Nobody shot soldiers who took water. Sometimes we have been so close to the Germans that were able to see their faces”.
All photoes were done by military historien and guide Andriy Shvachko