When did your service in Eastern Ukraine begin, and what made you to start the service?
I hadn’t the military experience before the war. The reason for the war was a sense of duty. It is a man’s business to fight and defend his own land.
Was it important fro you which unit to join?
In May 2014, the Azov Battalion was not a media battalion. It was possible to get to “Azov” through acquaintances. I joined by chance and realized that this is not just luck, but one of the most important steps in my life. Together with a small group of fans, I got to the Cossack House for a few hours and went to the East. At the first line-up I heard the Prayer of the Ukrainian nationalist for the first time.
When was you going to the front, what did you take from home?
I took the subway, bought two tokens at the entrance. One used and the other left a token for return. This token is still with me, because it is too early to throw it in the turnstile on Independence Square to finally return from the war. Not all the work at the front is done yet, and this symbol is still with me.
What’s the worst thing about war?
When you don’t know when it’s over. The hardest thing is to realize that not everything depends on you, and the end of this case does not depend on the unit or your actions. Today, the worst thing is not death, not the loss of brothers, but the fact that this case is very difficult to complete. All the decisions that will allow us to celebrate the victory today should be taken at President’s Office. And this is the worst.
What was the most difficult while being the part of the Azov Regiment?
The most difficult thing in the Azov Regiment was to go on vacation, to find an opportunity to spend 10-14 days. I know that the same trouble now haunts the other staff of the unit. Constant involvement in hundreds of issues. Constant training. Therefore, the most difficult thing is a quality vacation.
Do you remember your first fight?
The first real battle for me was not the liberation of Mariupol. My first battle took place on August 4, 2014, literally right at the beginning of the battle my platoon exploded on a landmine, 13 people were wounded, a friend was killed. After several hours, the assault continued, despite casualties and weapons. This fight ended late in the evening. We realized that we were capable of liberating Donetsk.
Were you afraid to go on a mission?
There was one case when we went with our small unit to detain recidivists who worked in Berdyansk for Russian intelligence. Only then did I experience physical fear, which makes it difficult to complete the task. We were warned to be careful, but everything went well. We detained those people.
The loss of which of your comrades-in-arms was the hardest for you?
Serhiy Ambros is a man who should not have died in the war. This is a man whose loss is worth thousands and thousands of Russian lives.
What rules do you need to follow to stay alive?
Strange question. In fact, there are few such rules. It all depends on the situation, but the basic thing is to carry out the commander’s order.
Azov implemented NATO standards. Who owns this idea?
Azov still implements certain technologies and protocols necessary for the successful operation of the unit. Azov, as a unit with a special history and special people inside, chose its own algorithm, which allowed to take the best in NATO and put it into practice as much as possible. From OSINT technology, ISTAR, approach to physical training of soldiers and to management in staffs of all levels.
There is also an understanding that the current government is in no way going to improve the management, troop and combat operations, unlike Azov, which, where possible, uses NATO’s best practices.
Andriy Biletsky was the ideologue of the implementation of NATO standards. As the chief of staff of the regiment, I was one of the organizers of certain initiatives.
At the same time, many officers and teams of military units within Azov have done and are doing everything possible to study best practices and use them in their work.
There are allegations that the Azov Regiment is the most motivated unit in the East. In your opinion, with which regiment can you compare Azov?
For example, the 75th Rangers Regiment of the United States. First, they are volunteers. Secondly, they are well equipped. The Rangers Regiment is similar to the fighters serving in Azov.
What war is for you?
War is the brightest and most interesting thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I hope that this page of life has not been turned yet and I will be lucky to take part in the victorious operation in Donbas. This page is the beginning of an outcome not only for me, but for the whole nation, which is now on the border of two worlds, as well as on the border of life and death. Either we win or we die.