“Right away the difference between Russian regulars and the DPR is apparent. Russian troops are typically better trained, better equipped, and have more assets available to them such as air, artillery and drones.

The DPR guys though, it’s like looking at a time machine across the battlefield. They’re wearing helmets and body armor from the 90’s or earlier. Carrying captured Ukrainian weapons or surplus weapons from WW2.

We had a sniper problem not too long ago on a part of the front so we sent a team to find him and get him. Our snipers got him and they brought back his equipment. It was a pair of binoculars and a Mosin Nagant 91/30 with a bent bolt fitted with a PU optic. Manufactured 1944.

This brought me back to my Afghan days. You don’t go to war with equipment like this unless you are motivated. And he actually got two guys with this thing from a considerable distance in the twilight hours.

The DPR guys aren’t the guys to be laughing about. They’re equipped poorly, trained poorly, but their morale seems ultra high and they are motivated to get into fights. From what I understand a bunch of them are hardcore fighters who’ve spent time in trenches since 2014-15.

Some of the hardfuck Ukrainian guys I’ve met have fought them for years and even they warned us about how deadly these guys can be. I made the mistake in Afghan of thinking guys in sandals with 50 year old AKs would be easy to fight against. That lesson transferred well here.”

-Western Volunteer. Invasion of Ukraine. Donbas. June 19th, 2022.

Documented by Battles and Beers: War Stories