A captured Su-25 pilot employed by the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner has talked about his missions in Ukraine in a video published by Ukraine’s SBU security service on June 21.
The pilot was captured on June 18, after his Su-25 jet was downed by Ukrainian forces using an Igla MANPADS.
According to the SBU, the pilot claimed he only bombed military targets – “staging grounds and concentrations of enemy forces.”
Once he was shown footage of the devastation caused by Russian air strikes on civilian settlements, the man “suddenly” realized that “this war is wrong,” the SBU said.
The Russian pilot said he flew his first mission on June 14, making 1-2 sorties a day.
The pilot also confirmed that Russian warplanes are flown by other mercenaries, besides Russian air force pilots.
These mercenaries are paid RUB 200,000 ($3,666) monthly salaries, along with various performance-based bonuses.
According to the captured pilot, his overarching goal in Ukraine was to “aid the republics of the Donbas.”
He was referring to the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, where Russia set up sham “people’s republics” in 2014.
According to Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov, the Wagner pilot is Andrey Fedorchukov, who also holds the rank of major in the Russian air force.