“Shooting started in the streets. From both our men and the Russians. My group and I had built an ambush area and began to fire upon them. It was my first fight and total chaos.

I became frightened in the smoke and noise and tried to cross the road to where I thought my friends were. I just ran! Fast as I could run! It was dark and hard to see and I ran straight into a man.

We crashed and fell to the ground. I felt him and climbed over him to see him better to discover if he was okay. I got closer and saw he was a Russian soldier. We both realized this at the same time and froze. I grabbed for my knife, but he didn’t move.

I couldn’t kill him. He couldn’t kill me. We both got on our feet and ran different directions. Later we went through the bodies and I found the Russian I had collided with. I said nothing about my cowardice to my comrades. I just couldn’t murder a man.”
– Anonymous Chechen Rebel. First Chechen War. Grozny 1995

Documented by Nicholas Laidlaw. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.