Serhiy Volynsky is the commander of the 36th Marines Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces which defended Mariupol from Russian invaders in February – May 2022. Russian channel “Voyennaya Khronika” published an interview with Serhiy discussing his unit’s retreat into Azovstal and subsequent surrender into Russian capture. Understandable, the interview is done under pressure of the captors therefore we cannot guarantee validity of the claims made by Serhiy
The transcript of the interview is provided below:
(V)=Volynsky Serhiy (I)=Interviewer
00:00 (V): Volynsky Sergey Yaroslavovich. Recently performed duties of the 36th brigade commander. Was appointed the battalion commander while being at Azovstal. Prior to that, I was a deputy battalion commander for airborne training.
00:18 (V): As I understand, my position is that of a Prisoner of War. Frankly, here I’m being fed better than during hostilities.
00:30 (V): From the Ilyich plant together with me departed 186 marines, from them 18 have perished. Among them at the time of departure were 33 wounded, and another 44 got wounded during the Azovstal battle.
00:40 (V): When I arrived at Azovstal I told the command that we have arrived. The command said it would be good if we could film a video so it could be seen that the 36th brigade still exists.
00:55 (I): Yesterday I was walking at Azovstal. I have a clear conviction that you had capabilities for continuing resistance. I saw gigantic rooms full of water packages, huge rooms filled with zinc boxes with ammo, grenades. Not even problems with food since canned meat was there. I don’t know, perhaps the situation differed between bunkers, but your combat comrades are saying that you ran out of everything and had to surrender. My impression it was not the case, and that you could sit there for many more months.
01:36 (V): As I said, we were on food rations from Azov, we didn’t have anything of our own. We were fed meagerly, we did not know where the stockpiles were, we were not allowed to them.
01:51 (V): As far as I was told by the deputy supplies commander, we were given 50 grams of groats per person, and 6 to 8 cans of meat for 186 people. It was of course poor food. Second-class yellow groats, barley… Some strange porridge.
02:14 (V): They *Azov* must have been the masters there, thus giving us provisions on a residual basis, or something. I don’t know if they shared according to morale, I cannot tell. Of course, there is a certain disappointment about that.
02:32 (V): When some detachments were coming us to, we saw they ate differently, in different amounts and different quality. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t get into arguments or demand anything as I was afraid we would be limited even in what we already had.
02:55 (I): You came into their possession and they considered you second-class people?
02:59 (V): We were conducting objectives at dangerous directions, in places where Azov sometimes refused to be. We’d be placed there. And in terms of provisional supplies, turns out we were fed differently. The treatment was different.
03:18 (I): Have you tried to change this somehow?
03:21 (V): Of course, we’ve had talks about this. But as I said, I couldn’t argue or demand anything as I was afraid to lose what I already had.
03:33 (I): Were there any cases of clashes or reprisals?
03:36 (V): There were definitely skirmishes and perhaps even fights. I can’t say exactly who did it as there were a lot of people. But the units were slightly afraid of them since there were more of them in terms of numbers.
03:52 (V): Since the situation was not being solved at all nor in the Ilyich plant where the 36th brigade was located, neither later when we arrived at Azovstal, and few spoke about this at all. But in reality units of the garrison were dying and we wanted to take some measures to save people. Commander Zalyzhnyi called via military comms and spoke to Redis *Azov commander* and said – “that’s it, stop the defence, and surrender into capture. Find exists independently or through GUR, via Budanov”. An officer was working together with a representative of GUR.
04:44 (V): After some time I raised everyone and told them we received the order to lay down weapons and surrender, from the commander in chief.
04:52 (V): It was very difficult morally, it was a shock. I cannot say that it was some kind of a joy. I was hoping we would be given some kind of corridor or something else, I don’t know.
05:09 (V): Zelenskyi called me once personally, back when I was at Ilyich, the first time. When I asked through David Georgievich *Arakhamiya* to be connected with the Commander-in-chief. Later I called him and said to him our situation was critical, measures needed to be taken, or some political decision, or negotiation, as people were dying and the situation was getting worse constantly.
05:35 (V): He said he really wanted to help us but he didn’t have such an opportunity at the moment, that he was working on it and asked that we held on.
05:44 (V): Following all these discussions he always transferred to the commander, after our chat the commander Valeryi Fyodorovich called us and told us what was what.
05:56 (V): Later, when the order came from Zalyzhnyi to lay down weapons and stop defence of Mariupol, I contacted Arakhamiya, he confirmed this info to me, he was at that meeting too. After Arakhamiya I also contacted Zelenskyi, and he also told me that defence of Mariupol ceases and for us to act through GUR, to find ways to surrender into capture with Budanov’s people.
06:29 (V): I rang Budanov, he gave the officer’s contacts, who was working with the RF’s GUR, and the next day the meeting occurred where the Russian Lt. General was present, representatives of Russia’s GUR, and officers – representatives from Ukrainian side. At the negotiations it was all decided how this would all go, all the nuances.
07:09 (V): I’ve had enough of war, I don’t want to take part in any military actions, or any conflicts