The Russian military are regularly sharing interviews with Ukrainian servicemen who surrendered in the Donbass region. One of such videos shows the testimonies of a lieutenant of the 36th brigade of the Ukrainian Navy who surrendered to Russian forces in the city of Mariupol.
He described in details the recent attempt of Ukrainian soldiers to escape from the Illyich plant surrounded by Russian and DPR forces:
-Position, rank, name.
-Pustovar Dmitry Nikolaevich.
-Pustovar Dmitry Nikolaevich, born on 02.04.1986, 36th brigade, READN unit, technical service maintenance unit.
-Lieutenant. Conscripted in 2020. There is such a program – all ‘jackets’ are drafted, I graduated from the military department at the institute. Up to 43 years old are conscripted into the army
-What year again?
-In 2020. Then I served a year under conscription, and then I signed a contract for a year. They said I will be restricted to travel abroad, as I was conscripted into the army I was dealing with equipment repairs, a guy was also doing equipment repairs with me. That’s basically my story. Then in Mariupol, the whole brigade was leaving, it was about the 10th of April. We came under fire, I jumped out of the car, there was fire with Grad, got out of the car and hid, found this guy, he has always worked with me, he was shell-shocked. Our column went further, when I tried to pull him. I pulled him. We tried to get somewhere by foot. We tried to surrender, waved the white flag, we were fired at. We went into the plantations.
-When leaving the factory, there is a lake. We left the factory, there was a fence. We climbed over the fence. Then there was a field, about one kilometer long, we passed it. Then we went into the first tree planting. I dragged him there. Then, there were a railroad and a bridge, I guess. I did not notice guys there, under the bridge. Then, I saw them standing under the bridge. We tried to surrender, waved the white flag. They started shooting at us and we went to a neighboring tree plantation. There was a mortar deployed in the neighboring plantation. Those who were under the bridge, they started chasing us, of course. In the plantation, where the mortar was deployed, it had a protective aircraft shelter. I slipped through, took him on my shoulder. I held out the next tent, threw him. I had no other choice. Guys who went out from under the bridge, they approached the mortar team, and likely asked them about who, how, why passed through. Then, we spent two days in the plantation. He felt better. Danya went better. And then we went out. We went out through Mangush, … oh no, Stary Krym (Old Crimea). As we had no maps, no Internet, commanders told us nothing, where were what territories, where your troops were deployed, where our troops were deployed. We had a compass, North-East, and we went towards Zaporozhie, hiding in plantations. We tried not to be seen by anyone. We bypassed settlements far away. This way, we crawled through checkpoints.
-Where were you caught?
– Honestly, I do not know, I did not even have a map.
– Near what settlement?
-I do not know. There was a small village. We tried to pass through it. We did not pass through. And here we are, they too. They started shooting at us, we had no weapons, nothing, and we surrendered immediately. No sense to fight back.
-On April 10, the whole brigade came out, right?
-The whole brigade went out. The whole brigade got hit by artillery. The whole brigade was brought down in one pile. This was idiocy. We stood there for over an hour. I was scattered. I thought, so whether we were going on a breakthrough, we should all go separately, keep distance. The aviation was there etc. we faced with overwhelming forces etc. Just idiocy, they kept us all together, waited for an hour, and the pounding began. We were targeted from all directions.
-Who gave the order to come out?
-The order was given, as I understand, most likely by the brigade commander. They gathered us all together, getting ready to leave. My belongings were left in the car, when I jumped out. There was my backpack, ID card, Makarov pistol, machine gun. Thus, I did not think about me weapon at the moment, because Grads were shelling, I jumped out. Then I saw Danya lying under Iveco (LMV), I rushed there. That’s it.
-And who exactly informed you?
-I was informed by our commanders that we were leaving.
-Ranks, names, codename?
– I had Lokalenkov Pavel, I do not now his surname, commander.
-What’s his rank?
-Colonel. He is commander of my unit.
-And his codename?
-The radio call sign was “Bravo”. I always heard “Bravo”, “Bravo”.
– Okay, got it. He’s not the first with such a codename. So, the whole brigade went out? Came under fire and what next? Part of the brigade went back?
-Part of the brigade went further, following the direction. I pulled this guy out, who was shell-shocked. And I see, they just left. What was I supposed to do?
-I see. How many men went out and on what equipment?
-I won’t say the exact number. But approximately I think, the whole brigade went out, i.e. about 1000 men.
-On the 10th?
-On the 10th. There were about three tanks, speaking about the heavy equipment. Then there were AA-guns. I do not know if they were intact, but at least one of them was intact for sure. We had self-propelled artillery. I can’t tell you the exact number. MAZ trucks. As for the Grads, we left them there, because “Grads” were already inoperative. My two «Ural» trucks went out. I had 4 «Ural» trucks attached to me. Two of them were completely destroyed.
-Did Ural trucks have any shields?
-Yes, we planted them with iron before leaving. About 4 millimeters plates, so that they could protect against bullets at least. The Hummers came out too, they headed in columns.
-How many Hummers were there? At least approximately.
-I don’t know, but there were two Hummers, but there were also BMPs ahead, then there were tanks in cover. Hummers are mainly deployed with us, with infantry and reconnaissance groups. Our reconnaissance forces were severely beaten. There was almost no one of them left. There were few BMPs left, as well as infantry, not a lot of people. In my own unit, a lot of guys died.
-I got it. Who was adjusting your fire?
-That was the job of the battalion commanders and the colonel. I know nothing about artillery. At all.
-Somebody should give orders to the artillery? For example, to target there, more left or right.
– Who was doing it… As I said, battalion commanders were doing that, as well as self-propelled artillery. They were deployed traditionally on the roofs and doing the aiming. But as for me I know nothing about that, I didn’t see any artillery rangefinders.
– Okay. Did you come out from the Illich plant or Azovmaksteel?
-One squad was coming out from above, the second from below, we came in from here. If you charge my phone, I can show you all the maps. I found another phone to use it as a lamp at night. Here is my phone without any PIN code. I have nothing to hide. If you charge it now, so I could show you on the map from where we came out, where did we stay, where we were deployed.
You can check. I signed a paper and refused to take part in hostilities, to shoot etc. I can repair the equipment etc. They promised to judge me for that, because when I saw everything, I realized it was hell.
-What did happen?
– I mean fighting in general. I’m not an army man, I got here by accident, so I signed a waiver to participate in hostilities. As well as a guy I worked with. So they promised to judge us for that.
– Is there any communication at the factory? Internet, cellular communication?
– There was nothing. Some connection was turned on in the headquarters sometimes. We were out of touch for 45 days, I did not know what was going on. Only sometimes when there was Internet on in the headquarters, I only contacted my relatives on Viber, or only sent a message. I did not want to disturb my parents, only wrote them that I am okay, that’s all. That’s all. No Internet, no connection. We knew nothing. The brigade came to the plant in on February 28. On the first few days there was still Internet. Then there was nothing. And you understand that if I used your network, you would have found me right away. You could identify our location etc. That’s why we did not use your networks even when we were fleeing there in the plantations. We wanted so much to know what’s going on, check the maps etc. But we had only a compass, moving to the North-East.
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