“I saw men die in close combat with the Chechens in Grozny. We were occupying an apartment building on orders from our commander. I was on the second floor with one squad, and another squad was on the floor below us.
A rocket sailed across the street and into the first floor window. A loud explosion was followed by screaming men below us. I ran down the stairs to find the room filled with dead and dying Russian soldiers. The one in the middle of the room was missing one of his arms and I decided to drag him back up the stairs with me.
As I dragged him on the floor, I slipped on a liquid and fell on my bum while the wounded man thrashed in my lap. It was a puddle of blood and human organs. The blood quickly soaked through my trousers and I could feel the warmth against my skin.
As we were sorting out the situation on the first floor, a burst of rifle fire came through the window and hit my comrade in my squad. The bullet severed an artery in his throat and he collapsed on the ground and gurgled while he rolled on dead and wounded men. I didn’t know what to do. I looked around for an officer but none were there.
Two Chechen fighters then rushed through the front door. Luckily one of my guys thought they may rush the door, and he shot the first one directly in the face, spraying brains on the one behind him. The second one slipped on the gore in the doorway and fell down onto the flat of his back.
Another Russian quickly jumped on top of him and dispatched the Chechen with a blade. The sound of a knife puncturing cloth and flesh over and over is not something I’d ever like to hear again.
Later that day a truck came to get our dead and wounded and a newsman came with the vehicle. We told him to leave. Our mothers already feared for us. They didn’t need videos to fuel their fear. It was the single worst day of combat I ever experienced in both wars.”
– Alexei Yermolov, Russian Army. Second Chechen War. Chechnya, 1999
This interview was conducted by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.