Petr&Mazepa: The armour is strong. Part 3. The world below zero.

By Alexander Noinets and one soldier (a whole camp) for Petr & Mazepa
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

"The armor is strong, 3"

“The armor is strong, 3”

To us, in the rear, it doesn’t matter what the Ukrainian soldiers are called. There, at the front, they also don’t care how they’re being called. An army man in general does not like it when someone remembers his surname. The surname is a sign that you are remembered by the high command, and no one expects anything good from the high command. For this reason, here, I will also not mention any names or surnames. In any case, for you and me, all of the stories from the front are stories about “one Ukrainian soldier.” So these are a few notes about one Ukrainian soldier… a soldier who serves in the 28th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


  • There are the mobilized ones and the professionals. The professionals pull their weight on their contracts for many years, and they have their own honor and traditions. They are real soldiers, and the others – they are temporary soldiers, not serious. But, generally, just like in prison everyone sits on false charges, here all the mobilized ones are volunteers and came in to enlist themselves. And, unlike in prison, this is not always a lie, and even not always self-convincing. Often that is exactly how it is.


  • Our platoon is actually – exemplary. Don’t look at our being dressed haphazardly and our camp looking like some Bedouins stopped off here. Our commanders know their job and they keep the soldiers well. There are some platoons where the officers don’t care at all, and they drink around the clock, and the 19-year-old conscripts are living there all confused, they do not know where to run or what to do, they’ve only had enough training to learn the rule of “don’t look into the barrel while firing.” But we have everything down perfectly.


  • How much do you actually sleep?
  • Well, I’m the commander, the big boss. I sleep a lot, about six or seven hours.


  • I am proud of the platoon. Generally, of course, keeping these barbarians together is very hard work every minute. But see, we once had a tank column come at us, and everyone stood in the trenches, held their sectors, and no one even made a sound. Although everyone knows that our task, in the event of a serious attack, is to hold out for half an hour. Commander, will we hold out for even half an hour, if that happens?
  • Well, maybe we’ll hold out. What do you want? The job of one Ukrainian soldier at war by all accounts – is to survive for three days. You have exceeded the norms for personnel many times; you’re already on a standard for a Lieutenant Colonel, if you screw with our nerves here for another week.


  • I talked to the fighters, and the mobilized ones say – we didn’t come to serve in the army. We’d have dodged from the army; it’s not interesting in the army. We came to the war. We came to fight.
  • And, how is fighting turning out for you?
  • Well, we came to the right place, here it is going well.


  • Actually that incident with the column showed that people are divided into two types – those who first of all grab their armor, and those who in that moment first of all grab their assault rifle.
  • And those people who at that moment hide and run?
  • Are those really people? We don’t have them here, we already checked. Our people are maybe not the prettiest or the most educated (actually you are the first person with whom I’m able to talk in complex sentences for the past couple of months), but they are people.


  • Actually you can never tell by a person just like that beforehand. You know when warriors gather at the table, they have this marathon: “I am from the ATO, and who are you?” [thing going], and they exchange soldier stories, about blood and guts. And we have this soldier in one unit, when he listens to it, after the third sentence he gets diarrhea. That’s how nervous he is. So, when we disembarked at night into the trenches on alert, he jumped out of the dugout barefoot and stood in the trench barefoot in the snow, only had time to grab his gun and his ammunition. So let him be as nervous as he likes, he is a very correct soldier.

Video: “Idiotic march” song by Oleg Medvedev

  • In my life there were two moments when I was ready to lie down in the snow and die. The first was during a hike in Crimea in a blizzard. The second time – when we drove here to the location for fourteen hours on top of the armored vehicle under the freezing rain. Everything got completely soaked through. The most dry thing we had was a package with some underwear that one fighter was sitting on. We had a dog chase after us from the border guards, so one of our soldiers stole her from them. Yes, he just went and stole her. So that we could warm up against her. The dog was warm.


  • We take our personnel very seriously. See, I bought one soldier from a neighbouring platoon for two blocks of Marlboroughs. Because he is a professional soldier, 19 years old, and such a good shooter that God give one of him to everyone, and he knows the radio. Soldier, make me some tea, please. You see? I am a conscript, in the rank of private, yesterday they were initiating me into the Dippers, and he is seven years in the army, a sergeant, but at the rank of a senior shooter. So he makes me tea and not the other way around.
  • Comrade Commander, allow me to report, your orders are executed, your tea is ready. Now go and pick it up yourself, I am not a servant to be handing out tea to you.
  • Do you see? And so we bicker. Coming, soldier.


  • One soldier is a hunter and an exhibition shooter. Me, when I shoot – I don’t know if I’ve hit the target or not. But he sees how the bullet flies, he knows exactly whether he hit the target or not. When we shoot – I am aiming somewhere over there, working hard, and he’s already fired and is now shooting birds above us, because he is a hunter.


  • Oh, listen, volunteers, can you get us a 12-gauge shotgun? There are lots of partridges here, we can get loads of game; do you know what kind of cook is in our platoon? He’s from the “Trump Card” restaurant. The generals in the army aren’t fed like here in our platoon. Here, try a soldier’s “ukha” [fish soup].


  • One soldier we took on because he left Ilovaisk on his own. He walked for two weeks towards his men, but he came out, alone. And he didn’t just come out, many people came out; this one came out with his weapon. He didn’t abandon his weapon and he made it to his own. Good job, I figure.


  • I was saved by one conscript. He took an explosion on himself. Now he is in hospital, he has one piece of shrapnel in his nose, another one somewhere in his head, they can’t get it out. We only knew each other for a couple of months, and he saved me and is now in hospital.


  • And another one, a career soldier, I served with for four years. My comrade in arms. And, when they deployed us onto our positions during the first ATO, and we stood in the trenches, he dropped a grenade into our trench and ran towards the separatists to surrender. He dropped a grenade onto his former colleagues and ran away. He didn’t make it, of course. For four years we served together, sat at the same table.

Video: “Heart of a snake,” song Oleg Medvedev

  • And in the neighbouring platoon they lured a sniper. Every day two bullets hit their APC. Only two, and always into the APC, and always into the same one. And the soldiers regularly find sniper positions around. They say it’s some kind of woman sniper.
  • Why a woman all of a sudden?
  • Well, so they say.
  • Nonsense talk. Soldiers’ tales.
  • But someone is shooting, right?
  • Someone is shooting.
  • And why?
  • They want to exert psychological pressure. To scare you.
  • Have you seen anyone here be psychologically pressured because of this? Idiots. What pressure? Now if they shot somebody’s balls off, then yes, that would be psychological pressure on him. But they can fire all year long into the APC if they like.


  • Psychological pressure is when the soldier gets no news from home. Everyone has buddies, friends in the rear. And when these people stop calling, the soldier gets really upset.
  • Well, some feel bad that they live there in peace while their friends are fighting somewhere. They feel ashamed, uncomfortable, start getting angry at themselves, and don’t call, so as not to remind themselves that there is a war in the country, and that their friends are fighting there.
  • There’s no need to be ashamed of this. You are journalists, right, tell the folks in the rear that this is very important for the soldiers, that there’s no need to be ashamed, the soldier will be happy that he wasn’t forgotten. It is very important that you’re not forgotten. And that someone is at the rear while someone is at the front, well, what use is a front without a rear.
  • Well, there not everyone realizes at all that they are in the rear. They think that they have a peaceful life and not a life in the rear.
  • I think it is about ten thousand coffins. I have a whole theory. The theory of ten thousand coffins. The country does not understand that it is at war. It is necessary for ten thousand coffins to arrive to the rear, so that every second person buries either an acquaintance or a relative. Until then they will keep thinking that all of this is not real and not for long.


  • Landlady, we want to put a volunteer up with you. Rent a room, and we’ll pay you.
  • Guys, what money are you talking about, you are helping the army, live here for free; I will heat up the guest room. Are you here for a long time?
  • Well, about three months for now.
  • Why, do you think this tragedy will keep going for three whole months?

(Landlady, it will last even longer, only how can we say this to you?)

Video: “Amazar hawk,” song by Oleg Medvedev

  • Listen, what was that just now? One APC just accelerated and pushed another APC in the rear, and that one started up. Does it always start up like that, with a push?
  • No, God no. This is the first time. Usually that one doesn’t start up at all.


  • Hey, soldier, the volunteers are here, let’s give them a ride on an APC. Climb up, hold on.
  • Not bad. But it shakes a lot of course. How you ride on them for 14 hours – I don’t know.
  • Well, this is actually the gentlest and most experienced driver. With the others – now they shake. But you got the tourist variation.
  • Now you’ve gotten a ride, and it was quite similar to a Bedouin stop. Only instead of camels you have APCs.


  • Actually, so far the biggest discovery that our soldiers have made in this war is that there are socks for ten Euros a pair, which you sent to us. And that you can wear these magical socks for a week, and your feet still don’t stink. The whole soldier stinks but his feet don’t. So basically our machine gun is from 1979, the APCs are older than me, I even dread to think by how much, but at least in our shoes the 21st Century has arrived.


  • We badly need a car. We have armor. We drive on the armor. But we can’t drive our stuff, there’s no truck or anything. So for us, each move is equivalent to two fires. Find us any car, a jeep, a minivan, does not matter, because otherwise everything you are sending to us will just get lost every time we move.


  • And do not pay attention to what we look like. Look around you, here it’s all snow, mud, oil and slag heaps. Everything you bring us, after two days, will look like a great-grandma’s sweater. And we have loads of great-grandmas’ sweaters, here, look, half a dugout of various rags. We are not cold, we just look like bums. But then again, for snipers we are not a priority target, you see, they can’t tell where the commander is, who to fire at, they shoot at the APC from hopelessness. Bring us kits for weapons. We need scopes, we need binoculars, we need a thermal imager, Picatinny rails, collimators. We need to shoot.


  • We have one Ukrainian soldier here. His surname is Siliveystr. We have no surnames here, just call signs. And he has not only a call sign, but also a surname. Siliveystr. Because he wants a street in his village to be named after him when he dies. The village is small, so he has a chance there. Only don’t forget. Siliveystr is his surname.

Video: “Carlson,” song by Oleg Medvedev


Cards for the transfer of funds:

Yandex purse: 41001690315741

We have got six new cards at once, specifically for volunteering needs, finally.

The first and second are in dollars and euros, for buying everything, if you do not have moral limitations about what you are prepared to spend your money on. We will not buy weapons for them but will, for example, buy firearms kit and magazines.

In UAH: 4731185603709285 – Elena Noinets


ACCOUNT — 4731185603709756




IBAN — UA223052990004731185603709756

The third and fourth are in dollars and hryvnias if you have certain moral restrictions and you are not willing to sponsor firearms kits. It is planned that money from the card will go to warm clothes, stoves and the like.

In UAH: 4731185603709301 – Elena Noinets


ACCOUNT — 4731185603709772




IBAN — UA753052990004731185603709772

Click on any image to enlarge or view slide show:

And some photos, from the fighters, of the humanitarian aid. Here is a mix of ours and of the Lorenzo family. Because they came on the same day and the fighters sorted them at the same time without looking whose was what. In general, we have already agreed with the Lorenzos, as they are fantastically effective buyers that the soldiers are delighted with, that we gather the money, and they coordinate the purchases, and report here. Generally from a technological point of view it is an increase in efficiency – we accumulate the resource well, they manage it well. Enlargement and coordination as is.

Source: Petr&Mazepa

This entry was posted in English, English News, Eyewitness stories, Help for ukrainian army, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, Video, War in Donbas and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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