How Ukrainian farmers captured a Russian squad

26 July, 07:26 PM
Among the captured personnel were traitorous officers from Crimea (Photo:General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

Among the captured personnel were traitorous officers from Crimea (Photo:General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

Residents of the village of Plyushchivka, near Mykolayiv, managed to take 11 Russians prisoner in early March, Ukrainian news outlet Graty revealed in an article on July 25.

Former Ukrainian officers, who had betrayed the country during the 2014 occupation of Crimea, were among the captured personnel.

Svitlana Vanzhula was responsible for setting up the partisan cell in Plyushchivka.

A photo of nine captured Russian soldiers started circulating around social media on March 2. A local government official described it at the time as villagers from Plyushchivka and Pisok capturing 10 enemy combatants and handing them over to police.

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Vanzhula told Graty of the days when she was running the local volunteer defense effort, moving back and forth between makeshift command posts.

“My guys were all stationed across observation posts; (they) called me and said ‘Sveta (short for Svitlana - ed.), 11 Russian men are approaching the village,” Vanzhula said, recalling the early March incident.

“They were armed, moving across fields, running from one grove to an-other... we only had a couple rifles.”

Nevertheless, Vanzhula told locals to assemble and drive out to intercept the spotted Russian soldiers. She also called for help from a nearby settlement, as Territorial Defense volunteers there had five assault rifles on their hands.

“By the time they came, we were already out (of Plyushchivka) – 50 men and myself,” Vanzhula said.

“I grabbed a white sack from the trunk and said ‘Let’s go guys. We’ll negotiate. We’ll tell them they have no choice.”

She realized that if the Russians got into her village, they could start shooting people.

“Thankfully, they had no idea we were unarmed: they saw how many of us came in a lot of cars, and laid low in a grove,” said Vanzhula.

“We were shouting at them to surrender; they were shooting in the air. Eventually, they surrendered on the condition of keeping their lives. We agreed, took their weapons, and escorted them out (of the grove).”

The captured troops turned out to be from occupied Crimea. Two officers –a major and a captain – were among them, and did not engage with their captors.

“They were livid once they saw we were unarmed,” Vanzhula recalled.

Two months later, a Kyiv court sentenced the squad commander of Russia’s 126th Marine Brigade Ihor Rudenko to 15 years in prison – for treason.

Rudenko is a former Ukrainian officer, who served in the coast guard in Crimea before 2014. After Russia annexed the peninsula, he betrayed his oath of allegiance and entered Russian service.

Seven years later, he was one of the Russian invaders that Plyushchivka residents had captured near their village.

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