A military unit of Ukraine’s special operations division has been conducting raids on the territory of the Russian Federation to undermine the military capabilities of the Russian army, UK newspaper The Times has revealed.
The newspaper obtained interviews with anonymous fighters participating in these operations, known by their call-signs “Adonis” and “22”.
It’s unclear to The Times what are the ultimate goals of Ukrainian military operations on the Russian territory, but evidence suggests that sabotage actions at Russian oil refineries, munition storage facilities, and communication infrastructure are undermining Russia’s offensive capabilities.
The UK newspaper mentions Ukraine’s Shaman Battalion is involved in these operations and is going deeper into Russia. It’s been known that Shaman Battalion is the name for the 10th special operations division, which is usually assigned to conduct intelligence operations and assist in short-term offensives.
The Shaman Battalion accepts only those servicemen who have gone through advanced training, including diving, parachuting, and mountain climbing. Excellent physical condition is a mandatory prerequisite for joining this military group.
At this stage of the war, the Shaman Battalion is focusing on damaging the Russian infrastructure used for the invasion of Ukrainian territory. For this, the Shaman fighters have accomplished several raids on Russia that haven’t been announced publicly.
The Shaman Battalion relies on helicopters to transport its fighters to the Russian territory, using tactics of flying as close to the ground as possible to avoid being noticed by Russian air defenses.
“Operations on the enemy’s territory are the most interesting missions,” the Shaman fighters told the Times. “We use explosives during them, after crossing the frontlines and the state border.”
“Adonis,” says the Russians usually can’t believe that the Ukrainian army is actually behind these raids. “Most of the time, they just can’t believe we’ve paid them a visit,” he says.
Both, “Adonis” and “22” have been fighting against Russia since 2014, when it invaded Crimea and the Donbas. To join the special operations division, they went through a complicated training program.
But raids on Russian territory are not the only missions for the Shaman fighters. Besides those assignments, they do training sessions for newly recruited soldiers, focusing on tactical technologies.
During the initial stage of the war, the Shaman Battalion participated in Ukraine’s defensive operation in Hostel, which was one of the biggest battles of Russia’s war against Ukraine when it still had plans to conquer Kyiv, using paratrooper groups to land as many Russian troops in northern Ukraine as possible.
After the Hostomel operation, Shaman was deployed to Moshchun, a village to the west of Kyiv that is an important geographical location, sitting near the bridge over the Irpin River and the neighboring swamps. This route could have been used by the Russian army to invade Kyiv from the west, but the Russian advance was stopped there in the course of several weeks.
When Russian troops started retreating from the Kyiv outskirts, Shaman fighters followed them all the way to the Belarus border, hitting their positions and speeding their retreat.