How Russian Special Forces soldiers were taken captive on May 16 near Shchastia

Author: Yurii Butusov

So, that is what is known at the moment: recon element of the 3rd brigade of Russian Military Forces has come for another round of war to Ukraine. Brigade divisions leave for the war regularly – this is a part of military training. The group was staff-based, there were no “mercenaries,” all commanded by Captain Yevgeniy Yerofeyev. The unit’s headquarters is located in Bryanka. Shchastia was in the zone of responsibility of the 3rd Special Forces brigade of Russian Federation.

A group of 14 people did not have a task to assault and hold Ukrainian positions - it was an intelligence search aiming at unexpected attack or shelling of Ukrainian positions, "hit and run," which is an ordinary yet worrying tactics of the Special Forces.

The video was provided by MP Borys Filatov to the "Obozrevatel" website.


A bridge over Siverskyi Donets, which shields "Facade" stronghold

The ways to the bridge over Siverskyi Donets River at the opposite side of the city of Shchastia in the Luhansk region are being shielded by the "Façade" stronghold, which was taken by the division of the 5th company of the 1st battalion-tactic group of the 92nd Kharkiv motorized brigade.


Battle spot

The stronghold is situated near the bridge at a little height fully covered by greenery. On the one hand, it secures camouflage of Ukrainian positions. On the other hand, these positions could be reached undetected at a very short distance.

The location for attack was chosen wisely by the enemy. They have approached at a throw of a grenade distance, which, of course, raises questions to organization of combat security at the stronghold.

Yerofeyev's group was acting daringly. They aimed the object of the attack at 2:30 p.m., during daylight. Undetected, they closely approached a separate Alaska firing point, at a distance of 30 to 40 meters. From such distance, Ukrainian positions could be easily seen; therefore, it was not a sudden clash. It was an attempt of a thought-through attack that could have easily been successful, since a factor of surprise was used. One short attack and our soldiers could have been gotten by surprise.

But at 2:30 p.m., junior sergeant Vadym Puhachov climbed a parapet of an entrenchment near the Alaska. He was relocating to another position. Nothing suggested trouble; the soldier was looking forward to his baths…

Vadym noticed the diversionists being close-in. They opened fire and Vadym got shot with six bullets from a silent gun Val, which is a special weapon of the Russian special troops. A 9-mm subsonic bullet and an integrated silencer provide a very low noise level to this kind of weapon. The diversionists wanted to attack covertly.

But Vadym cried out to warn the rest of the soldiers. The bullets made him fall down in a shelter trench.


Yevhen Zalohin shows the spot where the Russian soldiers were wounded.

At the expense of his life Vadym Puhachov warned his friends about the enemy's attack. Vadym's cry was heard by junior sergeant Yevhen Zalohin, call sign "Zhuk" ('bug'). Yevhen is registered in a repair company of the brigade, but on his own free will he went to the frontline. Having seen his friend falling down in the trench bleeding, Zalohin didn't lose his courage. He understood that their position had been attacked. Yevhen found the enemies moving nearby their position and started accurate fire - the distance was short.

The enemy started retreating. They didn't even try to save their wounded soldiers. The garrison of the stronghold was alarmed and the enemies didn't accept battle in such conditions - they were detected and it was clear that Russian soldiers were under the danger of killing. A group from the reconnaissance company of the 92nd mechanized brigade headed personally by commander Viktor Nykoliuk immediately moved forward to the battle site. You heard right - the colonel spends most of the time on the frontline with his units, and many times he personally took part in clashes and even in recon searches with reconnaissance officers on the enemy territory.


Viktor Nykoliuk

At 2:40 p.m., under the cover of fire from the stronghold, several of our soldiers began mopping up the territory in order to prevent the enemy from retreating. They immediately found captain Yerofeyev wounded in his arm by Zalohin. At 2:50 p.m., sergeant Aleksandrov was captured with a leg wound. Another wounded soldier managed to escape. Hypothetically, Yerofeyev could manage to vanish in thick bushes, but he was too close to the Ukrainian positions and obviously decided not to take risks.

A unit of the 24th assault battalion "Aidar" and military reconnaissance officers of the Security Service were redeployed to the battle spot.

Both Russian Special Forces soldiers were well aware that they killed a Ukrainian soldier. Very likely, Yerofeyev himself was the one who was shooting. That's why the Russians expected that in revenge, Puhachov comrades will kill them on the spot. In an effort to save themselves, the two Special Forces soldiers immediately identified themselves as service members of the Russian army and named their ranks. "We are service members of the Russian army, don't kill us," the killers pleaded.

The Ukrainian soldiers continued their pursuit of the remainder of the Russian reconnaissance group, but the enemy forces opened mortar fire, so further pursuit efforts were abandoned. One soldier of the 92nd and two Aidar fighters were injured by the mortar fire. It is very likely that the Russian commanders were trying to dispose of the living witnesses of their mistake. However, the Ukrainian soldiers immediately evacuated the Russian military.

Combat outcome: units of the 92nd brigade bravely repulsed the enemy attack. The 5th company consists only of draftee fighters, not contract soldiers. The capture of the Russian army service members is a military and political achievement of great significance.

Vadym Puhachov, soldier from the 92nd brigade, having warned his fellow soldiers about an enemy attack at the cost of his own life, deserves the highest military honor.

Our government and society must ensure that his family is well cared for (contacts required).


Yevhen Zalohin

Junior Sergeant Zalohin deserves the highest military honor for staying clearheaded in an extremely dangerous situation, reacting immediately to an enemy attack, returning fire, and neutralizing two enemy insurgents.

The commanders of the 92nd brigade should also be distinguished, but an investigation is required in regards to the organization of the secure perimeter at the "Façade" stronghold and at other forward-based outposts. Here you can see our interview (in Russian) with the brigade commander.

1. Insurgents will continue to attack our outposts. The war has not stopped.
2. Vulnerable positions in close proximity to the greenery must be secured through all available means, like engineering structures, clearing of fire zones, mining the perimeter, or even setting up booby traps and perimeter patrol.
3. Russia has violated the Minsk Agreements and is disrupting peace in the Donbas.
4. Russia committed an act of military aggression. This situation demands legal assessment by the international community.

Censor.NET will later post photos from the place where the fighting occurred - courtesy of Leonid Maslov, soldier from the 92nd brigade, who's been working on the front lines for a long time.

Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/r336680