Well, an airport actually… but you get the picture.
Donetsk Airport has been fiercely fought over for months now: the Ukrainians invested to hold the site has been hardened enough to be called “cyborgs” by both friends and foes. While the airport has been simply unusable for months, it had highly symbolic value, with the isolated Ukrainian survivors only pulling out yesterday, by capture or by retreat or death.
One of the strange things about this ‘brother’s war’ is that the video above, shot from a pro-Ukrainian perspective, is titled in Russian.
In Donetsk, rebels forced a dozen captured Ukrainian soldiers to kneel on the streets near where artillery fire had gutted a trolley bus, killing at least eight people, encouraging passers-by to beat and spit on them.
“Fascists!” one old woman yelled at them. “Who are the terrorists now?”
Actually, these captured soldiers are treated somewhat better than is common in the Empty Quarter: despite the public humiliation, they will probably survive their imprisonment and eventually live to see home again. No such guarantees can be expected in the Empty Quarter (outside of the civilized and wealthy Rukadukaz Republic).
Admittedly, there has been strong Imperial pressure to uphold the Imperial Rules of War, but most Imperial forces have been withdrawn to fight the Solomani, as of 993. Fortunately, the local worlds are more focused on beating back the pirate enemy than beating up each other, so who knows – some rough’n’ready, paired-down version of the Laws of War might endure until the end of the Rim War.
A bit of summer footage from the other side, the Donbass rebels (English subtitles). It’s mainly artillery fire and training, not close-up combat.
If the typical small-unit Traveller mercenary group was involved here, they would be either placed directly under the hammer, told to hold the starport or die by an employer that is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy (and so may well skip paying the PCs); or they would be the tip of the spearhead of the force to take the airport back. Note that mercenaries are more likely to fight with the big guy (and likely winner) who can pay the bills, not the little guy who can’t afford them: the rights or wrongs of the conflict don’t come into this.