Victor Shayga Russian Volunteer in Ukraine

Posted on 18 May 2022



A few days ago, a young Russian contractor posted his experience of one month of war in Ukraine. It was published as 5 long posts, they’re presented together here:


Part 1.

My name is Victor. On day 12 of the special military operation in Ukraine (my opinion is that, in essence, it’s a huge, bloody, large-scale war; yes, officially the war has not been declared, but in reality, in the generally accepted meaning of this word – it’s a real war…), after seeing for the first time on YouTube a video of our (Russian) captives and wounded being abused by these inhumans from Ukrainian armed forces, I made a decision to join the army as a contractor to help our army in this war.

I myself grew up and am registered in Belgorod Oblast. I applied for a contract at the regional selection point in Belgorod Oblast. I passed the full medical commission. On 3 April I arrived at the 3rd Motorised Rifle Vislenskaya Red Banner Division, orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov – into the 752th motorised regiment (unit 34670) to a position of a rifleman/assistant grenade launcher. I signed a contract for half a year. Before that I served my conscription service in Dzerzhinskiy Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) division in a separate commandant battalion.

During the conscription service, I have been to shooting practices four times, where each time I fired 6 rounds. Since school, when in the 10th grade we went to military training camps for two weeks, I was amazed, perplexed and surprised – why is it so?! Why are we only allowed to fire 6 rounds? Indeed, in order to ‘feel’ the assault rifle you need at least 15 rounds in a magazine, so the person could shoot 2-4 single rounds and then try bursts of 4-5 rounds. Yet to do it properly, of course everyone needs a whole magazine – 30 rounds! My opinion is that the target shooting with 6 rounds which is en-masse used in Russians army and MIA – is just a mockery of military training!!!

In the order by the commander of the Western military district regarding sending me into a unit it was indicated that I was meant to be sent to accelerated survival training courses. They were meant to last two weeks. Also, my contract selection instructor at the regional selection point was saying they would ‘teach me up a little bit, teach how to fire from everything – from a grenade launcher, machine gun, sniper rifle’. In reality – this all turned out to be a lie. None of us (22 people) were taught anything. We were not even allowed to try our weapons. On 6 April we were already meant to be sent to Ukraine to Izyum town, but the dispatch was delayed twice, and in the end we left to Ukraine on 9 April in the morning.

Regarding my military preparation – I knew that it was best (in my opinion) to fire from an assault rifle with single rounds. But I couldn’t even remember how to set single or burst fire mode – with the lower position of the latch, or the higher. So when I received my assault rifle in the afternoon of 6 April, being sure that on the 7th we could already end up in Ukraine, I asked the duty officer who was issuing assault rifles to us – ‘where is the single fire mode?’. This is the training that I’ve had.

I also took two offensive grenades. I took the offensive ones since I knew such grenade is the safest to use – the fragments only scatter for 25 meters. I knew about this since my conscription service in the army. I never threw a grenade, so I asked those who did how to use it the right way – how to twist out the fuse, how to bend the ‘antennae’ and pull out the pin. We’ve had people with combat experience, who fought in the 2nd Chechen War, but also those who simply were combat veterans and served on a contract or simply those who served on a contract. These people obviously were 10 times more prepared than me.

Looking ahead I will say that during mortar or artillery shelling your training level is not important – you can be a professional spetsnaz with 20 years of experience and die instantly from mortar fire, and you can be inexperienced novice and survive in dozens and hundreds of artillery barrages. This is a matter of luck, how God decides… The only thing is that if you are being shelled with GRAD or cannon artillery, if you see a fresh crater that just appeared, it’s better to jump into it as the missile shouldn’t hit it the second time.

Our equipment was not the best – we were not given sleeping bags or ammo pouches. Upon arriving on 9 April to a livestock farm located not far north of Izyum, we slept there overnight. At night a precision mortar attack (two bombs) hit the BTR belonging to a logistics company which was based on this farm. The BTR was struck. That’s how I first learned what a bomb is. It was scary and generally unsettling.

In the morning, our regiment’s zampolit* arrived. He said ‘we are going to Satan’s ass, so those who want can refuse right here at the farm, since later he won’t be taking anyone back if someone wanted to return. One man refused – praporshik* Vasiliy from Moscow. Everyone else went.

It should be noted that we were all put into infantry, despite the fact that two were meant to be in reconnaissance. One of them was a sergeant, an observation method specialist for various sensors, cameras. There was also a senior praporshik (43 years old, Vladimir), who was supposed to be a starshina* of some sort of semi-rear company.

Yet everyone was shoved in to be riflemen and machine gunners, and also grenade launchers at the frontline in motorised companies. Thus, on 10 April, myself and 4 more people ended up in the first company of the 752th regiment located on the defence in shrubbery at altitude 200 to the south of Kamenka village. Commanding the company was Sr. Lieutenant Guzaev. A real officer and a very good person… Kind and humane… In the company (if it can be called a company) there were 8 people together with company’s starshina who never went into assaults. After we joined, the company consisted of 13 people.

We specifically were not shelled. Ukrainian bombs and GRADs flew into our artillery which positioned 1 kilometer away from us. They also hit the 2nd company which was bigger than ours and more combat-ready. It located to the left, also in shrubbery around 300 meters away from us. They often fired at Ukrainian UAVs (drones) from assault rifles and certainly took down two. Our company commander forbid us from firing at UAVs saying that we won’t be able to take them down anyway and will only expose ourselves. In my opinion, of course we could be taking them down with small arms. Although obviously, the likelihood was very small.

We spent a week in this shrubbery. Overall, we got to know each other. We got comfortable with each other. There was already mutual assistance and respect. Once I even fired single rounds at another shrub which stood perpendicularly to us. A week prior to that, positions of our company were attacked through this shrubbery (we, contractors-volunteers were not there yet at that point) by Ukrainian VDV company. Around 100-120 people. They were utterly defeated. As I understand, one part retreated and took with them almost all wounded. Around 40-50 dead bodies remained in that forest. Only one was wounded, in the buttock. He was delivered to division headquarters. No one abused or beat him.

A week later, Ukrainian reconnaissance carefully entered the shrubbery during the day, perhaps to get something from the dead (radios, documents, tags, or perhaps just observe and make sure). I don’t know. But the 2nd company noticed the movement and immediately prepared for firing. The guy next to me said he could see two people in the shrub. I clarified with him the place where he saw them and immediately started firing with single rounds into that spot, and then just generally firing at the shrub. I fired around 14 rounds. Looking ahead I will say it was my only use of weapons in almost a month of stay in Ukraine.

On 18 April we left the forest and went to Kamenka. The next day an attack of Dolgen’koye village was planned. They didn’t let us properly sleep and rest, since late at night we moved closer towards the attack location. We slept over in a destroyed school. Thank God I got enough sleep, paradoxical it may seem. In the morning in Brazhovka village our company received 13 more volunteers. They just arrived from Russia. To be honest, I was stunned by this – how is it possible?! The people are immediately sent into an attack?!

One moment was indicative – our starshina (who never went into attacks himself) gave one of the PKM machine guns to one guy. I asked the guy – ‘did the round go in to the barrel?’. I personally did not know how to insert the machine gun belt in. I just knew how to take it off the safety and shoot. The guy said he had no idea and that they told him in his unit (in Valuyki) that he would be a driver. I called our starshina. He tried to send the round into the barrel but failed. The machine gun jammed. Then our senior praporshik came, who fought in Chechnya. It took him two minutes to load the machine gun. He did it. That’s how this attack was prepared.

*zampolit = Political Officer (
*starshina = First Sergeant (
*praporshik = Ensign (

Part 2.

…However, as it turned out, it was not an attack on Dolgen’koye. Either the plans have changed, or the officers made a mistake, but we simply went on a path along the fields and shrubbery towards Suligovka village which was around 2,5 kilometers from Brazhniki, and by now was under our control for 6 days. However, we didn’t know that. We kept thinking we were going to attack Dolgen’koye and that we needed to take the first street in this village. As we walked, Ukrainian army noticed us and started shelling us from GRADs and mortars. During the second, rather massive shelling I already said goodbye to my life – I thought that was it, that the next bomb will either rip my legs off or kill me instantly. It was really scary.

That fella who was given a machine gun, he was 38 years old and not really used to physical activity. He was very exhausted from marching and running around with a machine gun, an assault rifle and an armoured vest, and his heart started aching. We reported about this to our commander. He told me to stay with the guy and to cover the retreat of the wounded from companies that were ahead of us. We moved back a bit, waited for the wounded (there were 4 of them, lightly wounded – someone in the hand, another had a shrapnel enter his back through an armoured vest, another had a light leg injury – everyone walked on their own). The wounded moved on but we stayed for another 40 minutes. We’ve heard how our guys got shelled with GRADs once more. Then me and this fella, we went down to Brazhovka village. I was carrying a machine gun. After staying there for 3 hours I went with someone on someone’s BTR to Suligovka. The other guy also went there on the second company’s BTR. But I didn’t know back then it was Suligovka and believed I was going to Dolgen’koye which we were meant to capture.

In Suligovka, I found my company. In the afternoon the commander told us we did not accomplish our objective and that the next morning we have to go and assault Dolgen’koye. Many company commanders in the two battalions of the 752th regiment told their fighters that we are being sent to a sure death, since the Ukrainians are well prepared. So they said – decide for yourself if you want to go or not. Four fifths of us (if not more) refused to go. So did I.  In many ways because I simply had no physical energy to keep going into an assault. Yet many volunteers from other companies went into that attack in the morning. Not me. From our company, three people went including the Sr. Lieutenant. He got wounded in his leg. As those who later came back from the assault were telling us – it was 7 kilometers of walking through the fields between Suligovka and Dolgen’koye. They left at 10AM and only by 4PM managed to reach 600 meters from the village. They were exhausted. All this time they marched under heavy mortar and artillery shelling. Dead and wounded started appearing. When we reported to our battalion commander Major Vasyura about dead and wounded, he cussed: ‘leave them and keep advancing!!!’.

They said that reconnaissance squad commander who was moving together with our incomplete companies got wounded. He himself told his scouts to keep going forward and support the attack, and to pick him up later. He appointed another senior to them. After all, they picked him up. When they almost reached Dolgen’koye the mortar shelling became very intense. A Ukrainian tank started firing. This resulted in even more dead and wounded. The officers (who were alive and not wounded) did not know what to do. Then, one of the volunteers (he told me that in person; he was 40 years old and for 12 years prior he served on a contract, including in GRU; a combat veteran) said: ‘Guys, we need to fall back, otherwise we will be smashed with mortars and those who stay alive will be finished off’. So they retreated. Everyone was exhausted. It was very difficult carrying the wounded. We came back at 11PM. One of the volunteers, Andrey from Kursk who came together with me said that many simply ran off while retreating. He yelled at them to help pull out the wounded, but they didn’t help. He said he wanted to grab an assault rifle and start shooting in their backs… Thus, the grenade launcher platoon commander, Captain Nikolaev who was dragged for 4 hours, died from blood loss… I didn’t know him personally, but everyone said he was a very good person… So that was an attack on Dolgen’koye on 20 April…

After this attack, almost everyone refused to go into another attack the next day… Only a part (11 people from the remnants of two battalions) stayed and were sent to the very frontline, into shrubbery half a kilometer away from Suligovka to help motorised riflemen from Sakhalin who held defence there… It’s important to note that, in principle, many of those who refused to attack (myself included) were ready to hold defence under mortar fire, yet we were still told to walk with on our own to Izyum. In fact, they took away our weapons. They took our weapons at the very frontline…

I’ll also add that due to constant lies we couldn’t believe our command anymore. Twice before the attacks we were told that everything was going to be alright, that the enemy artillery was suppressed, that ahead of us other units of ours are already advancing and we just needed to reach them… But each time this turned out to be a lie and ended up with senseless losses for us. We kept wondering why are being sent into these insane assaults?! We thought, perhaps it was to locate the enemy artillery while it was shelling us? Or for the Ukrainians to use up their shell stocks on us? Then we wondered if it was to distract the attention of the Ukrainian army? I don’t know. Many had a feeling that we were just deliberately being destroyed. Looking ahead, I’ll say that based on the fact that different units tried to take Dolgen’koye, I think that our command simply had the task of taking Dolgen’koye and simply sent in everyone they could. It got to a point where in early May they started sending only 7 people to attack!! As I understood, other units went to assault Dolgen’koye one or two times before stopping. I think on 1st of May OMON and other special forces (possibly SOBR) went there also. They also failed to take it. They just simply walked around at another area with the remnants of our regiment. It’s just that in other units the command took care of the subordinates, while our leadership as I understood didn’t care about us. The 45th reconnaissance regiment of the Airborne Forces tried to advance through the forest to Dolgenkoye on April 19 as were going to Suligovka. They didn’t make it – there was an intense firefight in the forest, to the right of us. We heard it very well. Airborne had one person killed, retreated and refused to advance on Dolgen’koye.

In Suligovka I stayed for 3 days, then me and another guy from my company (he previously served in ‘Vityaz’ spetsnaz on a contract), and a guy from another company together left to Izyum on a truck. There we ended up in one location on the outskirts of Izyum where all the so-called ‘500’s, those who refused, were being gathered.

I got there around 25 April. We were basically used as a workforce – we dug trenches, carried earth bags to reinforce division headquarters, sawed pines for dugouts. Nearly every day they were bringing new ‘refusers’ to us. Their stories were even more tragic than ours… New volunteers were immediately thrown onto Dolgen’koye upon arrival to Ukraine. There were no more officers so they were picking the most hardened ones among the volunteers (ones who fought in Chechnya and Syria), appointed them as seniors, gave them radios and sent them to assault… At the end of April they brought to us around 18 people who advanced as a large group of 120. They said that apart from them some other unit attacked Dolgen’koye from another direction. Perhaps that is why they reached Dolgen’koye without any mortar shelling. They had 300-400 meters to go when they came under crossfire from two machine guns… Even closer to them were positions of Ukrainian assault riflemen. They started combat. Our guys also had machine guns and RPGs. As I understood they killed at least 6 assault riflemen but had to retreat due to Ukrainian machine guns which they couldn’t suppress. Most likely the machine guns were located in well-fortified positions. The guys said that if they had a little help, if the machine guns were suppressed with helicopters or tanks, then they would have entered Dolgen’koye…

When I was still in Suligovka and we went into attacks, they said that motorised riflemen from Klintsy entered Dolgen’koye as one full company on BTR’s, but it is said they were sent deliberately as they were fired at from three directions. Yet they still withdrew on their own from the triangular ambush in Dolgen’koye. They said it was even before we came, before 19 April, that 8 tanks and infantry entered Dolgen’koye but decided to keep going rather than taking positions, so the tankmen went forward and almost all of them got hit, and then the infantry was also pushed out…

In May they brought the remnants of ‘Bars’ (trained reservists from all of Russia) – 14 people. They assaulted Dolgen’koye for a month and remained in the area. As I understand it, they were attached to the leadership of our wicked division. In total, 340 of them arrived to Ukraine. After a month of shelling only 57 remained. Moreover, half of the survivors were at the headquarters. Most of them were wounded. They never had a single firefight, all the losses came from Ukrainian artillery fire…

My opinion is that if it wasn’t for the Ukrainian artillery, its power and precision, then our folks would have crushed the Ukrainian army in firefights. It is my opinion.

As for us volunteers, in my opinion we were generally combat-ready and could attack quite well (as far as our skills and knowledge allowed), it’s just that after such disgusting and vile attitude from our leadership, many didn’t want to stay and fight in this unit… myself included.

I can understand, command can make mistakes, but when you realise the leadership simply doesn’t care about you and you are sent for a sure senseless death, it really discourages you from fighting.

Another thing – during this whole time, in the whole division, only the officers were receiving state awards. Not a single sergeant or a private received an award. I spoke to five staff contractors from our company. They were very young – 19-22 years old, kind and joyful despite everything. They were taking Kamenka with other units of ours. Of them, eight people entered in their area. They killed 12 Ukrainian fighters in combat. One of the killed was an officer. They found a radio on him. From radio they found Ukrainians were preparing reinforcements in their area – 40 people were meant to help Ukrainians in Kamenka. Our guys figured out where the Ukrainians would be coming from and ambushed them. They killed all 30 people in combat. These guys are 19-21 years old. They are excellent at shooting from everything – RPG-7, ‘Mukha’, machine guns. They are in many ways still children but fought to the death – with courage and till the end… Why did none of them get any awards?! They also refused attacking Dolgen’koye and later left with us to Russia and broke their contracts.

Ukrainian army continuously shells our positions with mortars, artillery, Tochka-U’s. I have no idea where Ukraine got so many Tochka-U’s from. But in Izyum our anti-aircraft was taking down many of them every day. That’s what they said. In general, speaking of our division, our anti-aircraft was the best-working, most combat-ready unit, as I understood.

Tankmen had huge losses… Our tanks were hit in dozens during attacks and while marching… Just in general we have immense vehicle losses, both BTRs and BMPs, trucks, engineering vehicles… But the most terrifying thing is the amount of people dying every day, are made disabled, and how many are captured…

Part 3.

I consider it important to say how the humanitarian aid collected for our army is distributed. Even back home I suspected that very little reaches the frontline directly. Back in my unit in Valuyki I found that conscripts who were delivering humanitarian aid to our unit in Ukraine stole from it three crates of canned meat and sold it in our unit for 70 rubles each. They also stole three crates with cigarettes. Cigarettes that normally cost 187 rubles, they were selling for 100. I also personally saw how in the regiment’s headquarters, a woman who worked there was eating “Roshen” candy from a big crate. As far as I understand that was meant to go straight to the frontlines, but it never did. One can only wonder how many crates like that with sweets, canned food, condensed milk are stolen in the Valuyki unit by every man and his dog… People who saw it also told me how in Izyum, those who always stayed in the rears jumped like jackals at crates with aid from some Russian regions. This aid was also meant for the frontlines. They pulled out and gutted everything – they took all the chocolate, canned foods, good cigarettes, all the good clothes – they left out all the worst and unneeded, including the worst cigarettes. In the end, from a whole truck only three crates survived – one was sent to our 752nd regiment, another to Bogychary, and they shoved the last one somewhere… Those who saw these rear bastards going through items said it was a very disgusting thing to see from outside…

I was at the frontline. Thank God, we always had food, but never had good cigarettes. They simply never reached us. We didn’t have basic raincoats, either. Once it rained heavily for three days and we all were soaked, we slept soaked, we stood guard soaked…

It’s important to note another tragic issue. Many volunteer guys had scattered around the forests after those insane assaults by our unit. They fled because they were immediately thrown into battle and they didn’t even know each other all that well. I’ve heard they now wander in the forests in small groups, not letting anyone approach them. If someone yells at them – ‘We’re yours!’, they start shooting anyway. What was it like for these people? Wandering around these forests, cold and hungry, always afraid of getting into the hands of these Ukrainian subhumans… Who will answer for this?

In early May I found that one of our PMCs (Private Military Co) had an objective of collecting such people in the forests and fields of our area (Well, this probably is an accompanying task for them; aside from that I think their main objective is fighting Ukrainian saboteurs). They picked up two of our guys in shrubbery near Suligovka… They fed them, gave them new uniforms, since after two weeks in Suligovka their uniform completely worn out, and brought them to Izyum.

Another thing. In early May two FSB officers came to us. A Major and a Lieutenant. I believe they were from the FSB department for armed forces. I don’t know if they belong to this division or not. They were very polite. They tried very politely to return us to the frontline. I said that we are basically thrown into a senseless slaughter. The Lieutenant said they knew of all this. I said it wasn’t just us who refused to assault Dolgen’koye, the spetsnaz also refused to assault this village. He answered that ‘They know and they are working on it as well’. He said ‘We do not judge any of you (who refused)’. He said it multiple times. Then, on 6 May the FSB Colonel arrived. One fella said that he heard him talking about us: ‘Groups of 20 people are thrown into attacks like meat’. I just don’t understand how this makes sense – if FSB knows about all this, why aren’t they taking any measures to root out this horror?! Or is that considered normal?! Or is it just, how it often happens in Russia, everyone’s covering each others since they are all friends, comrades, relatives, drinking buddies, co-thieves?! For instance, this FSB colonel’s daughter could be married (or in a relationship) with my former division commander’s son. So the case is not moving… It’s all sad, of course…

It’s also important to note, I have personally heard, how in the regional contract selection office one of the instructors was blatantly lying to a grown man that they needed a driver to chauffeur the division commander, having previously found whether he had a B or C driving license level. He did it because no one wanted to be a driver since they were very often killed. Also, speaking to guys from other regions of Russia I found that many were told in the enlistment offices that they would not be serving on the frontlines, but will be the second echelon troops guarding checkpoints, escorting convoys, guarding cities and villages in rears already taken by us. Although, I clearly realised I could end up on the frontline, including in the assault group… Also some (myself included) were told we will be in Ukraine from two weeks to a month, and then we’d be taken out to Russia for 10 days to rest. But that also was a lie. Specifically in our division there was no rotation. Volunteers on a contract who entered Ukraine on 24 February are still there and never left to Russia. Same for us – if we stayed, we would be there until the end of our contracts, so for half a year until September.

Those volunteer contractors who came after us, many of them (if not all) did not even pass the medical examination. When I came back home I watched a few videos with Igor Strelkov. He spoke in particular about the criminal mobilisation that was conducted in LPR and DPR when people without any proper training or coordination were sent into battle. He said they did not even do this in the first, most difficult months of the Great Patriotic War – people were given at least a bit of time to train and get to know each other… at least one week! Since if it’s not done, this leads to massive losses… And this lead to large losses of the mobilised in Donetsk and Luhansk, Strelkov said. For a mobilisation like this, those in the leadership who allowed it must be shot, Strelkov said. He also said that such mobilisation kills the ‘Golden fund’ of Russia since those who did not hide from enlistment officers are the most decent and honest people… He also said that this treatment where people are sent into slaughter ruins all the motivation for people to serve and help motherland in the future… As I realised, we were unlucky as we ended up in the most brutal unit which was always thrown into hell. It’s important to note I often spoke to, and saw in Suligovka the motorised regiment from our division (252nd) which, however, was based in Boguchary in Voronezh Oblast. My opinion is that regiment was 2-3 times more combat-ready and trained than ours. Why so? I don’t know. That regiment’s losses were 3-4 times less than ours. 80% of all volunteers, as I understood, were thrown into our regiment due to the fact that we’ve had huge losses and always had an acute shortage of people.

Also, one good contractor guy from that regiment (also named Viktor) said that our division has a messed up artillery. I asked why is our artillery so ill-prepared? He said – ‘Photo reports. They don’t shoot properly, just take photos and write that all is well, all the targets have been successfully hit’.

Also, another guy from reconnaissance talked how they spotted in Suligovka area a Ukrainian howitzer which was shelling Suligovka. It was spotted in the morning. Its precise coordinates were provided. The scout said that ‘It was shelling Suligovka the whole day and not a single scum from our artillery hit it, even though there’s plenty of our artillery stationed among shrubbery’. It was exactly during the days when I was in Suligovka. I also remember one time when we were shelled throughout the whole day, but our artillery was silent. How so? I don’t know. Perhaps no one had ammunitions. It’s important to note that our helicopters helped us a couple of times. On two occasions they suppressed enemy mortars that were very close to us (around 1,5 kilometers away), who hit us when we were in Suligovka. The same scout was saying that we often don’t have proper communication and interaction between battalion and regiment, and regiment and division. If true, this is horrible, of course…

Our division’s zampolit once spoke to us after we refused to go into assaults. He tried to persuade us to go back to the frontlines and attacks. Do you know what struck me? He was confident we all came to fight in Ukraine for money, and that if any of us was making more than 120,000 rubles a month in Russia, then we wouldn’t come here. What can be said about this? It is of course sad when there are zampolits like that in Russia who are confident that people can have no motivation other than material benefits. In fact, as I understand this is what all the high-ranking officers in battalion, regiment, division believed (apart from company commanders who went into attacks with us on the frontlines). Well, they probably judge by themselves as I see it. In reality, there is nothing surprising about it. This has been going on for a while in the Russian society – on the first place for the vast majority of the people in Russia are material goods – flats, cars, cottages, cruises abroad. Even though I was a child I very well remember how the people were in the early 2000’s – it was a different society in Russia, there were many times more kind, humane, sincere people… These days you can be incredibly kind, decent, honest and sincere, but if you have no money, no success, then you are seen in the Russian society as a nobody…

Part 4.

Days before going back to Russia I spoke to one grown up man from Lipetsk. He was also a volunteer – a driver. I told him that many volunteers just sincerely came to help, and not for money, but for an idea… he said, kindly: ‘So you are saying, for an idea? So what they’ve done to your idea? They just pissed on it…’. And sadly, this is true… This man knew very well how we were sent to attack in groups of 40-50-60 people. He said that 40 people is not an attack. He said that generally, everyone realised that you first need to destroy strongpoints of Ukrainian army with aviation, artillery, missiles, and only then send a mass infantry attack from multiple directions towards Dolgen’koye. Then it would be a success.

We’ve had different people, of course – there were cunning and savvy people who came just for the money and to receive a combat veteran’s certificate. And they were coming being sure they’ll be in safety – somewhere in the rears and checkpoints. There were also fine and decent people but they still came to earn 300-400,000 rubles in a month. There were also many of those who were first and foremost coming to help, and not for the money… It’s obvious that almost everyone needs money, but for this category of people money and subsidies were of a secondary value, and in many ways not important or needed…

I was told how one of the volunteers who was in our first company (Pasha from Moscow region, he was attached to us on 19 April, before the attack), who at first joined all the attacks but after 2 or 3 he refused, and how he raged at our battalion commander: ‘Do you think we are just meat?! You keep sending us to death, and never go into attacks yourself!!!’. It’s important to note that Major Vasyura who was commanding in Suligovka was saying in front of the formation that he would shoot legs of those who refuse to go and attack. I shouted at him from my formation that it was illegal, that it was lawless. He didn’t respond with anything and moved on from the topic of shooting the legs. It is just my opinion that battalion commanders need to be near their units – if the battalion is going to attack, then the battalion commander needs to attack and not sit it out in a BTR or a basement. For instance, together with us in Suligovka was the Sakhalin Motorised brigade. They had 40 people holding defence 500 meters from Suligovka. The Ukrainian army attacked them. They reported they were under attack. The battalion commander got into a BTR with 22 people and went there to help and stayed with them for two days… That is a real commander… When troops sense that the commander is with them, when they feel they are valued and protected, then they’ll fight to death… What is there to say when our commander was telling us directly, swearing, that he didn’t give a shit about us?! Proper officers and generals always cared and respected a simple soldier, since it’s simple soldiers who bear the brunt and difficulties of the war… Zhukov realised that, and Suvorov, and Kutuzov, and Rokossovskiy, and many other decent officers realised it.

Right now, in my opinion, a good officer is the ‘Vostok’ Donetsk battalion commander Aleksandr Khodakovsyi. He can competently organise attacks.

I’ve heard a lot of terrible things from those who went into attacks after us… They said when you approach Dolgen’koye, very close to it there are bodies of our dead soldiers lying around… Some have already begun decomposing and swelling back then… Some also said they saw bodies of our dead piled up in shrubbery, some were also tied to the trees… Perhaps those were the wounded who were abused and tortured. Who will respond for this?! Who?! They said our wounded were in one of the trenches for three days and no one could pick them up. Even our reconnaissance couldn’t pick them up. Then they heard how the banderites walked along the trenches at night, shouting – ‘Russians, surrender!’, and single shots could be heard. As I understand they were finishing off the wounded…

They also said that they saw how once our guys got captured and were walked across a field by the banderites. Ours decided to strike all of them with ATGMs – both ours and Ukrainians, just so ours wouldn’t get captured and tortured. In my opinion that was the right thing to do, it’s better to die instantly like that than be tortured for days in the hands of these inhumans.

It’s important to note that despite the horror and insanity of our attacks in the 752nd regiment, still 10-20% of the volunteers have stayed. In my opinion these are very strong and courageous people. As a vivid example I can bring the Senior. Praporshik (from our company) Vladimir – he joined all attacks (he took part in five) and didn’t get wounded. Moreover, he was 42 years old and he was far from athletic, he had a significant extra weight. At least, the last time I saw him. In my opinion – people like that are real men, and it’s very sad they are used like that, sent into senseless attacks…

Generally, it’s important to note that despite everything there were many people from the Western and Eastern military districts with whom I spoke and who had a high fighting spirit and the desire to fight till the end… The desire and readiness to crush this banderite scum till the very end… That’s a fact.

I realise war and casualties are inevitable, I’m ready to join the attacks, but only when the attacks make sense. Yes, if a unit loses 20-40% as killed or wounded but captures the indicated position, as it was originally within the capabilities of this unit. The unit wasn’t thrown at a position that was impossible to capture to start with! I understand when after a successful yet difficult assault the unit with many fresh newcomers is given several days (if not a week) to rest, recover, and not be thrown into another assault of another area the next day…

Another story I was told. Eight helicopters were given an order to strike the enemy positions. Only two of the eight helicopters took off. Others were either broken or had no fuel. Only one of the helicopters successfully fired at the objective. Not all the targets were hit. Or in fact, 80% of the targets were not hit. Yet this operation’s commander reported to his leadership that all is well and all the targets were hit. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I think – yes (note: he probably means that the report to the leadership said all objectives were hit). And I understand how these huge losses of human lives and vehicles can happen. Do you want to know, how? The superior commander believes that if all the targets were hit then he can send infantry with tanks to assault this area. As a result, infantry with tanks moves out and gets shelled with every weapon possible…

As I figured out the Eastern military district is times more combat-ready than the Western military district. Their losses were much smaller when they were near Kyiv and Chernihiv, than what the Western district had in Kharkiv and Izyum. This is my understanding. They also have way more vehicles as I see it. Why is there such a stark difference in the ability to fight between the districts – I don’t know that.

Although, again – I spoke to different people. The Eastern Military District also had significant losses. They are also thrown into assaults. But I don’t think their attacks are as hopeless and insane as they were in our 752nd regiment…

Part 5.

It should be noted that one of our guys in Izyum overheard how they were planning to decide our fate. He heard what one of the FSB agents was telling other officers. He said they were looking at several options – apart from terminating the contract and sending us to Russia they wanted to use some of us to film TikTok videos to show how great it is to be a volunteer at war, to attract new volunteers. Also, another FSB Colonel was suggesting taking us out at night and shooting five people each time so that the others would agree to go into attacks. The FSB agent said they were looking at this Colonel with rounded eyes, thinking – ‘Is he insane, or something?!’. Generally, this topic of shootings has always been in the air and many were really afraid of this. Apart from Major Vasyura, who in Suligovka was saying he would shoot in the legs those who refuse to attack, our 752nd regiment’s zampolit in Izyum was firing from an assault rifle near the feet of those who refused to join assaults. By that time they’ve had around 30 people like that. He preemptively took away weapons from those who had them. But it also should be noted that some were saying the opposite – ‘Let them shoot! – it’s better to die here, at least the complete body will be passed to relatives so they could bury us properly… It’s better than to get torn apart with a bomb and rot in a trench, or (even worse) end up in these scumbags Ukrainians’ capture’.

Also important to note – those who fought in the Second Chechen or Syrian wars said that compared to Ukraine those were a child’s play. In Ukraine it was 10 times tougher.

On the morning of 8 May we left to Russia. By mid-day we were already there. Our contracts were terminated right in front of our unit.

In Valuyki, in the evening of 8 May we were approached by a man, a gas tanker driver from the Central Military District attached to the 3rd Motorised Division. He said his division had no gas tankers, so many gas tanker drivers were attached to this division. I said they must have taken away the gas tankers from this division at the start of the war. He said no, they were initially non-functional in this division. I thought to myself – how is it possible that a division stationed 20-40 km from border has no working gas tankers?! How is it possible at all?! This man was a good man… very courageous… They also had huge losses. He said when they stay in Izyum for two weeks (then go back to Russia for a few days to get fuel), they often get shelled with Grad’s and Tochkha-U’s. He said they move in columns of 20-40 vehicles without any cover. It happened that they were shelled with Grad’s right on the road. They bought radios for their own money and stayed in touch this way. They once got shelled on their way – everyone started quickly moving away from the road. Only 20 kilometers later they all managed to get together again thanks to the radios… 2 gas tankers were hit that time… He also said that recently they picked up from Donbas militias a BTR with no wheels. They fixed it up and now for the first time, on 9 May they will have a BTR going with them as a cover… Maybe they’ll find another 2-3 BTRs somewhere?

When I was in Ukraine several military people told me that the plan was to take Ukraine in four days. What can be said about this? Whoever planned it is a ‘genius’. If initially around 220k of our troops entered Ukraine, then it’s too little for a lightning-fast defeat of the army and capture of Kyiv, South-East of Ukraine and its central part. In my opinion we needed at least 600k trained troops for that. Then, it could have possibly worked, but unfortunately, what happened – happened…

Due to the fact that catastrophically few people entered to complete this initial plan, we’ve had such huge losses at the very beginning of the hostilities. These losses are covered up by our authorities, as many people say. And more often than not those were the best, most fearless and prepared that were dying. After all, who would normally go at the very vanguard of an attacking group, of a column? The commanders, and the best-prepared, the strongest fighters… You know what else is scary? That the federal channels in Russia are saying that everything is going great at frontlines, that the special operation is going according to a plan. My opinion is that it is often a vile, impudent and disgusting lie! Far from everything is going by the plan! Due to the constant lies I do not believe a single word all these creatures are saying on the federal media. I also do not believe anymore a single word from the official Russian authorities. Neither Peskov, nor any other characters.

My opinion is that in Russia they destroyed any critique of the authorities. I believe this is not normal, and is wrong. There must be critique as it shows the authorities all the mistakes and shortcomings! But there is no criticising the authorities in Russia.

Who will answer for thousands of our wounded and killed soldiers in Ukraine?! Who will answer for the hundreds of tortured guys in capture?! Who?! Who will answer for throwing us into insane, useless, suicidal attacks?! Who?!

My opinion is that if Russia now had generals like Zhukov, Suvorov, Rokossovskiy, Kutuzov – it would all be different… Any decent officer cares and protects ordinary soldiers because he understands that, first of all, on their shoulders, their lives, their health, their dedication, their efforts, all victories in any war are achieved…

Regarding this war, and whether it should have been started or not, that’s a different topic. War is always terrible and must be avoided at all costs… But the fact that Ukraine shelled the peaceful population of Donbas for eight years – that’s a 100% fact, in my opinion. As well as the fact that Ukrainian army could attack Donbas and Crimea. Also true in my opinion is that USA could place in Kharkiv the nuclear missiles that could reach Moscow in 5-7 minutes. While using nuclear weapons on civilian cities is nothing new for the USA. We can remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

But aside from all this it’s important to note that even before the war, there were in Ukraine many angry, evil and stupid people who cannot put two words together without swearing (if they can be called people at all), who hated Russians and said they should be killed. And the ideas of Bandera and nazism are very strong in Ukraine. In fact, the official authorities in Ukraine since 2014 were constantly saying that Ukraine is at war with Russia. And all the politics in Ukraine were pro-banderite and aimed at destroying everything Russian in Ukraine – the language, culture, people who had positive attitudes towards Russia… Also, my opinion is that the way our captives are abused, maimed, killed – only scum is capable of this, not people. Such subhumans must be destroyed physically. This is my opinion. Which is exactly why I went to that war and I am ready now to continue to fight and destroy these degenerates… Just not with the command that we’ve had…

It’s important to note that in Ukraine, like in any other country, there are many good, kind and peaceful people who are far from politics and just want to have a peaceful and happy life… Since 2014 I’ve been watching on YouTube a Ukrainian politician, a blogger and a journalist Anatoly Shariy and a journalist Olesya Medvedeva. So, even without being in Ukraine I knew quite well what was happening there. In general, my opinion is that all wars start when people (humanity in general) are losing humility – they turn evil, cunning, lying and disgusting. Also, my opinion is that modern media are very much to blame for the current war and the situation in the world in general – they often lie and say what is beneficial to the powerful of this world, many tragedies of this life happened because of this… My opinion is that Anatoly Shariy and Olesya Medvedeva can be considered the gold standard of journalism – they always objectively present any information, and as people – they are incredibly kind, bright and sincere…

I really want as many people as possible to read this article and find out about the real state of affairs at the frontline. And I really want this article to be read by the Commander-in-Chief, Vladimir Putin. I’m trying to reach out to the Komsomolskaya Pravda editorial. Maybe they will publish it. No, I’ll be trying to contact foreign publications – perhaps they will publish it. People need to know the truth…

I had thoughts to contact the Presidential administration, the FSB director, the military prosecution, but even before the war I had to come across our law enforcement agencies. I don’t believe them, and don’t trust them to deal with anything according to the law, according to justice. No one gives a damn…

Everything I’ve written, I wrote sincerely. I saw everything with my own two eyes, or was told by witnesses of various events…

I hope that our ‘valiant’ law enforcement won’t initiate any criminal proceeding against me – I did not give away any secrets or locations of our troops. And also, since the end of April and early May when I was in Ukraine, over a week has passed – the operational disposition of our forces has already changed. And the fact that in our army, the criminal idiocy is happening at the frontline, they know that in the Ukrainian army. Our scouts said they heard in radio interceptions how the Ukrainian military were laughing their asses off talking about our army – ‘Well, this is the glorified Russian army))’.

Also a big question is what the political leadership of the country and our army have been preparing for all these 8 years, starting from 2014? For what?! Did they expect that our army will be greeted in Ukraine with flowers and salt and bread!?

My opinion is that this war could be won, in many respects, with high-quality strike drones alone, if we had 1-2-3 thousand of them. And there would not have been such huge losses…


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