Статті Коментарі



At the request of foreign friends, I translated into English a chapter from my book Diary of an Illegal Soldier, published in 2019. This chapter is about neutralizing of three enemy soldiers on August 24, 2017. A video of this shooting using a thermal scope has recently gone viral.

You can read this chapter in Ukrainian here:

You can see the full video of the shooting here:

…AND I SEE MILITANTS EVACUATING THE WOUNDED. The two pull him out of the trench and take him away. His hands are on their shoulders, his head hangs over his chest. Three at once, in full growth – an easy target, a tempting target… BUT I DON’T SHOOT. WHEN EVACUATING THE WOUNDED, DON’T SHOOT. That’s what I was taught. Ethics of war. Taboo. “THE NOBLE ART OF WAR CANNOT BE TURNED INTO BESTIALITY,” Wolf often says.
The next night, from August 23rd to 24th (2017), I am not going on duty. Wolf suggests to change shifts with other guys and rest properly, and go on the positions the night of the 25th. The enemies will surely thinking that we got drunk on the holiday and will prepare some kind of surprise for us.

And so, on August 24, on the Independence Day of Ukraine, at about eight in the evening, I go on night duty to “Vegas” position. [One of the most dangerous positions, where every day there were serious fights]. Wolf is with me – for the sake of such a day, he also decided to be on duty. There is no Catalonets [my constant partner, machine gunner] – he got a short vacation. And now I’m stepping ahead, showing the way – Wolf is in “Vegas” for the first time.
By the time we arrive, it’s almost dark so you can’t look around. “Where is the enemy?” Wolf asks. “There” – I succinctly show the direction.

Almost immediately, one of the soldiers comes to us. They dug up several bags of earth during the day, and he asks Wolf to help him throw the bags on the trench parapet. The two of them throw the first bag and barely have time to jump down – the bag is immediately pierced by a machine-gun burst.

“They are angry today,” the soldier says, and the packing of the rest of the bags is postponed indefinitely.

I see with a slight chagrin that my temporary shooting position has been destroyed again. With the help of the guys, each time I stacked the bags with earth so that there was a gap between the “walls” of two bags lying on top of each other, into which I put the rifle. So as I not to protrude up to the chest above the trench parapet, so that my body is at least a little covered.

So, my bags with earth were once again shot by enemies, the soldiers dragged what was left of them down, and threw other bags in their place – at random, without taking into account the need to place a rifle there.

I’m trying to raise the “Halya” [my rifle] on the top of these bags and aim at the target – and she lifts up the barrel and slides into the trench, because the bags are laid at an angle. And densely packed, I hit them flat with a shovel, but I can’t tamp.

And then Wolf, at my request, takes his sleeping bag, crumples it and throws it on the top of the bags. The sleeping bag is soft, it can be “shaped”, and on it I carefully put the “Halya” in the correct plane so that it looks exactly at the enemy positions. I leave it with the thermal turned on at the top, and I look myself from below. On the clock is 9 pm. At midnight another truce should begin, the so-called “school” truce, which none of the parties, of course, will observe, and thank God. We want to fight until one of us wins. Please don’t hinder us.

Almost immediately, I see a glow in the trench – someone’s head sticking out. After a few seconds I understand that these are not the guys who work against us from the trenches every night. Those behave completely differently: they leaned out, worked out, hid. And these for some reason don’t shoot, but are fiddling with something. The militant moves along the trench to the right and does something. To the left of it, a light is visible – there are still people there.

I understand that they are up to something, I feel wild, impossible excitement, I’m afraid to miss the target. But my shooting position is not ready. Work now, this second? Or a little later? Now he will dive into the trench, and I will not see him again…

I try to explain to Wolf what is happening – but he doesn’t see what I see, and understands little!

“See, see, see,” I mutter. – Right here, see? There-there-there. What are they doing there? See how bright the glow is. Now it will disappear, see? He is going, going, moving, see?”

And at this very moment, the militant completely, with his whole body, crawls out of the trench.

Any self-control will fail when you see such a target – and when you understand that right now they are going to kill you. There are several of them (as it turned out later – six), they pass weapons to each other, and there are two of us in position, and Wolf is here for the first time, we entered in the dark, and he only knows the direction – “there”.

– Ah! – I quietly scream. – See? He got out! Look-look-look – crawling! Bastard. They are crawling.
– Where are they crawling to?
– F*ck knows. See them crawling? – here I understand with my spinal cord: “Now or never.” – F*ck. I’m working.

(Later, while watching the video, I was amazed that I was swearing. I never swear! And here it is. And from the video filmed with a thermal sight, I cut out the swearing. It was a shame for me).

I jump up to my full height, jump onto the earthen step, grab “Halya”. “Halya” lies on a crumpled sleeping bag, there is nothing to rest it against, the bags lie in such a way that in order to rest the rifle in my shoulder, I have to lean out almost to the waist.

I start to catch them in the scope, in the dark I poke the thermal sight into the repeatedly shot through bag. The ground is dry, the dust rises, the lens of the sight is immediately covered with this dust, I can hardly see the target.

And no longer waiting, not aiming for long – I’m standing in front of them, they might see me! – I fire a shot.

– Was it you working? Wolf asks. The sleeping bag and bags with earth muffled the sound for him, he wasn’t even sure who was shooting.
– I was.
– Well, it’s enough. Get down.

But immediately after the first shot I fire two more ones – let them not understand that I see them, let them think that this is an ordinary “prostril”! [Night single fireshots once in a while towards the enemy – so that the enemy doesn’t want to crawl in the direction of our positions].

Having gone downstairs, I try to explain to Wolf that the sight was dusty, nothing was visible, but I seemed to hit, could not miss…

The rifle remained at the top. I am drawn to her like with a magnet. Against all safety rules, breaking them twice – never shoot twice from the same position and never prying about the results of a shot, sticking your head out – in a minute and fifty seconds I do just that. I look in the scope and point the rifle at that place.

The sight is terribly dusty, each of my three shots kicked up more and more dust, I can hardly see anything. But still I see another militant, who is upstairs, above the trench!

I don’t understand anything! Even if we assume that I didn’t hit anyone, how can you be out of cover two minutes after three bullets whizzed by a centimeter from you? Are they drunk?

But I don’t think for a long time – I shoot at the center of the body of a silhouette sitting on the ground. The dust raised by this shot completely covers the scope, I can’t see anything else.

(Later, after watching the video more than once, we will understand that the second militant, apparently believing that his comrade was hit by an accidental single fireshots, got out to try to drag his body into the trench).

I go down into the trench, pulling off the “Halya”. I say to Wolf: “I think I hit the second one.” I wipe the “Halya’s” scope. I change position – I go to the dugout, there is a small loophole, we didn’t use it before, because it is low, nothing was visible because of the grass, and now all the grass has burned out. [Enemies, on average, twice a week, waited for the wind in our direction and burned our positions, setting fire to dry grass with special ammunition]. I’m watching. I can see good, very good…

And I see militants evacuating the wounded. The two pull him out of the trench and take him away. His hands are on their shoulders, his head hangs over his chest. Three at once, in full growth – an easy target, a tempting target… But I don’t shoot. When evacuating the wounded, don’t shoot. That’s what I was taught. Ethics of war. Taboo. “The noble art of war cannot be turned into bestiality,” Wolf often says.

Two militants drag the third behind a small wood and after some time return, one carries something like a long thin stick. I don’t understand what it is, and only much later I will guess – most likely, an army stretcher folded. The militants dive into the trench. I wait – and then one of them crawls out. Most likely, judging by the pose, he was going to take the body of the first one from the trench.
To check whether this is so, there will be no opportunity – I work. This time I have a normal position, with a good emphasis, there was plenty of time – more than 40 minutes passed between the first two and third targets.

I work. The picture twitch a little. With the utmost clarity, you can see how the body of the militant falls into the trench.
And silence. No one sticks out anymore. No one shoots at us. No response, except for one short “prostril” two hours later. Stop, why didn’t those experienced, our constant “vis-a-vis” in the trench cover these newcomers when they were crowling?

You can see exactly that they are newcomers. According to intelligence received later, it was a subversion commando group consisting of guys from the Kuban [It’s in Russia]. They had been fighting in the Donbass since 2014. They were considered almost the most experienced subversion commando group in the sector. Apparently they relaxed. This is what happens to those who have been at a war for a long time.

Nervous tension, excitement don’t let go. They are not my first two hundredths [200th means killed, 300th wounded], but for the first time three hits at once in one night (I don’t know this yet, but I do know!). For the first time at the moment when they went to kill Wolf and me, and for the first time with video recording. More than anything, I’m afraid that the record didn’t work out. We can check this only when we return to the our frontline base.

Until the morning, I don’t know anything. I just stand on the shift in turns with Wolf, and then sleep in the dugout. At eight am we take over for a shift again – and then a happy signalman comes running. He says that he came to fulfill his direct duty: to report on the two hundredth.

Wolf and I are digging, I continue to make a normal position for me, so that I no longer take risks like last night. I am digging up three 40-kilogram bags of earth. An updated interception comes: two 200, one 300. Everyone congratulates me.

Returning to the base, we see that the video turned out. Half the village of soldiers and volunteer fighters come running, everyone is watching it, everyone is happy, congratulating me. They bring me two of the same sights as mine (until now I was sure that there were no more such sights on Vodyane), they ask me to teach them how to use them.

There is very little left for me to say. That after that night we collected shells from my cartridges, and our jeweler friend Dima Zhupikov made for me a silver ring, into which the bottom of this shell is inserted – an old sniper tradition from the First World War.

That snipers from my unit – a separate infantry detachment “Wolf” of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army – made 21 confirmed hits in one season of work on Vodyane, without any losses in personnel. Only the Georgian Niko, a very good sniper, lost part of his finger in Sotka position – something large flew in, after which he continued to fight and set a distance record in this war – 1647 meters.

That in just three and a half years of the war, the fighters of the Wolf group liquidated about a hundred units of enemy manpower, and our losses at the same time are: one dead (Seva), two seriously wounded (Hadyuka and Centurion), four lightly wounded.

…And then, unexpectedly, I got a call from the Kyiv headquarters of the UVA and said that for those who have a higher education, there is an opportunity to complete special courses at the Ukrainian Defense University and become an officer. And I returned to Kyiv, and entered these courses, and became an artillery officer.

In the photo I am in trench on the same position from which I shot.

Filed under: Статті · Tags: , , ,


  1. […] her experiences there in a memoir published in 2019, Diary of an Illegal Soldier, including a memorable scene in which she kills two enemy combatants and wounds […]

  2. […] her experiences there in a memoir published in 2019, Diary of an Illegal Soldier, including a memorable scene in which she kills two enemy combatants and wounds […]

  3. […] her experiences there in a memoir published in 2019, Diary of an Illegal Soldier, including a memorable scene in which she kills two enemy combatants and wounds […]

  4. […] her experiences there in a memoir published in 2019, Diary of an Illegal Soldier, including a memorable scene in which she kills two enemy combatants and wounds […]

Залишити відповідь