“In January troops started ammssing in Crimea and Belarus, and on the border with Ukraine. Were training of January, doing fuck all in reality.

20th of February we were at a range in Crimea we got the order to prepare for a column movement to an unknown destination

We kept moving daily, 24th we went in. Some boys were bullshitting about going into Ukraine, but thoughts were varying. Barely anyone thought that the invasion would actually happen. No one really believed that we would invade. 

I personally understood that Crimea would have terrible cirumstances. 

Putin had shit rating and he needed to raise it

I thought that we would be used as peacekeepers in DNR LNR during a referendum, that was my theory. That was my logical thinking.

No one fucking knew. February 24 was a surprise for the whole world, Russian troops as well.

We couldn’t even really tell where we were, the column Vics headlights were off. We were on the border. During the night we had the order to paint the cars with ‘Z’ and to put white bands on left arm and right leg.

We were sleeping in cars, and then 4AM we woke up to an artillery barrage. I woke up to other military branches firing grads and other artillery into Ukraine.”

⁃ Pavel Filatyev. VDV Paratrooper. Former Russian Soldier. August, 2022.

Documented by Battles and Beers