Victor Shayga Russian Volunteer in Ukraine Part 1.

Source: https://victor-shyaga.livejournal.com/

Translated by @mdmitri91


My name is Viktor. 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.

End of Part 1.


*zampolit = Political Officer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_commissar)

*starshina = First Sergeant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starshina)

*praporshik = Ensign (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praporshchik)