Russian soldier claims his unit didn’t know they were invading Ukraine

Russian paratrooper reveals he had no idea he was invading Ukraine until shelling began

The soldier said he and his comrade had no idea where the Kremlin was sending them (Image: East2West)

A Russian paratrooper has revealed in a new paper that his comrades had no idea they were invading Ukraine until they were deployed to the battlefield.

Pavel Filatiev, 33, a former elite soldier who later retired for medical reasons, describes how his unit was among the first deployed to the Ukrainian border in the days leading up to the invasion.

Armed with nothing but a rusting machine gun and an ill-fitting uniform, Filatiev claims he had no idea he was being sent to invade Ukraine until 2 a.m. when he was woken by gunfire in the back of an army truck carrying the border crossed.

Filatiev asked: “Are we shooting at the advancing Ukrainians?

“Where we went and why was not clear. It was clear that a real war had begun. I found out [we had] orders to go to Cherson.’

In a series of devastating excerpts published by Meduza, Filatiev outlines the major flaws at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s military machine and reveals how poor equipment, low morale and inefficient leadership have crippled the Russian invasion force internally.

When this all started I only knew a few people who believed in Nazis and besides [who] wanted to fight against Ukraine, Filatiev wrote.

“We didn’t have hatred and didn’t see Ukrainians as enemies.

“Most of the army is unhappy with what is happening there.

Pavel Filatiev, 33, a Putin paratrooper, became a war critic

Pavel Filatiev, 33, has written a book criticizing the Russian military and the invasion of Ukraine (Image: East2West)

‘[They’re] dissatisfied with the government and its commander, with Putin and his policies, [and] with the secretary of defense [has not served] in the army.

“We have all become hostages to many powers and I believe we have been carried away.

“We have started a terrible war. A war in which cities are being destroyed and resulting in the deaths of children, women and the elderly.’

Elsewhere in the book, he describes the poor conditions that affected his unit’s health and efficiency, and explains how a lack of appropriate clothing led to over 30 soldiers being committed to an infectious disease unit after they died during a training exercise had become ill.

After their training, his comrades had to march to an unknown destination.

“By that point, everyone was already dirty and exhausted.

Pavel Filatiev, 33, a Putin paratrooper, became a war critic

Filtiev says his comrades are underarmed, demoralized and have no desire to continue with Putin’s war (Image: East2West)

“Some had been living at the training ground for almost a month…everyone’s nerves were on edge and the atmosphere was becoming increasingly serious and incomprehensible.”

The beginning of the war quickly became chaotic as his own commander didn’t know what to do.

He wrote: “The command had no communication. The commander didn’t understand what was going on.’

He says the army was woefully ill-prepared and tactically naïve, and blames a belief in “the ways of our grandfathers” as the reason his unit was wiped out.

“All our training was only on paper, our technique was hopelessly outdated,” he said.

In battle, he felt compromised by the army leadership and says he never wanted to kill anyone.

Pavel Filatiev, 33, a Putin paratrooper, became a war critic

His forthcoming memoir, ZOV, outlines how internal strife and poor planning have internally paralyzed the Russian army (Image: East2West)

“The death of innocent civilians has been and will be in every war, but it becomes sickening to the soul.

“While our governments are figuring out how to live among themselves, and the military on both sides is their tool, peaceful people are dying, their familiar world is collapsing.

“When you realize that, you don’t know what to do.

“Leave everything and go – then you will become a coward and a traitor.

“If you continue to be involved, you will become an accomplice in the death and suffering of many people.

“Now I understand that I was used.”

Filatiev’s book is titled “ZOV,” after the symbols painted on Putin’s military vehicles.

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Justin Scacco

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