‘No reconciliation with the enemy,’ says commander of Ukrainian sniper unit

16 February 2022, 04:22 PM

Russia and occupying forces in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will forever be enemies, Serhiy Varakin, commander of the Ukrainian Army’s 58th tactical sniper unit, said in an interview on the Radio NV radio station with writer Serhiy Zhadan.

The commander said that he personally would never reconcile with the enemy.

“Never. I will never be able to... walk around (the city of) Donetsk after reconciliation,” Varakin said.

“Because I took many guys to the cemetery. I handed over (the bodies of) young boys aged 18-19, adult men to wives, mothers. And I will never be able to forgive this.”

Video of day

“Therefore, I have a clear position that Russia is an enemy, that part of the occupied territory of Ukraine is an enemy that kills my fellows, kills my friends. This is a fact,” the commander said.

He commented on the relationship of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense.

“Today in general, today we have a unique situation in the country. We have a unique Ukrainian Army Commander, Valeriy Fedorovych Zaluzhny, and Defense Minister (Oleksii) Reznikov,” Varakin continued.

“This is now such a unique pairing that the whole army has been exalted, first of all. Zaluzhny has 100% support for the army, this is the first time we have such a commander-in-chief. Ask any military man, you won’t find a serviceman who would say ‘Oh, he’s a loser.’ Everyone respects him everywhere – it’s cool.”

“Reznikov is the same. In general, we have a unique situation with him since the defense minister is a high-precision shooter, sniping is very close to him,” the officer said.

“I recently attended a meeting at the Defense Ministry of Defense with the defense minister, (representatives of) the Oruzheinik sniper weapon plant, Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny, and the sniper school. And we were fully working on making changes to our whole situation,” said Varakin.

“And it was so easy, because the minister was ‘in the know,’ we didn’t have to explain to him a lot of things, we speak the same language. We say: ‘We need to change this and that to have both. We destroyed this much over this period.

And we can do this and that.’ And after an hour-and-a-half, we resolved everything that we were unable to resolve for the last three years. It was a mega-cool meeting. And indeed, in our time, artillery units and snipers are capable of a lot, because a trained sniper platoon can stop a lot of tanks if necessary. And if it is supported by artillery units, it will be super.”

The commander also commented on the role of snipers in the Donbas conflict.

“Snipers definitely mean accuracy, silence. Artillery is about power, as well as accuracy, because normal artillery men can work just like snipers. If we consider volunteer guys who do this professionally, they shoot artillery like snipers, both from a mortar and a howitzer,” he said.

In addition, Varakin elaborated on how the views of the residents of the frontline territories in the Donbas have been changed since the hostilities.

“People saw what war is, they saw what the military is, they saw that we are constantly trying to attract their attention, to show that we are not monsters, we will help, we will help to take them to the hospital, bring them to the bank, bring them firewood, food, to show one day that we are normal, protecting them! And they appreciate that,” he said.

“Indeed, every year most people here understand that they also communicate with the other side, understand what is happening there! Unfortunately, we are losing a lot in terms of the information (war) because Ukraine does not invest as many resources, as much money, as Russia invests in its media to spread propaganda. And here the locals see and understand everything. Because they know what it is. Unfortunately, many in (the capital city of) Kyiv do not know about that.”

Finally, Varakin spoke about the stereotype that the Donbas is a pro-Russian region.

“Stereotypes that there are many people here who love the ‘Russian world’ – this is true. Because many people here have connections with the Russians, they have many relatives (in Russia),” the officer said.

“But we are talking about the quality and sincerity of real love for Ukraine. Here, those who have experienced this war on themselves, on their homes, on their health, on their relatives really understand and appreciate it more qualitatively than people living far from the war,” Varakin said.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news