24-year-old private Dmitry Paramoshkin from St. Petersburg signed a contract with the Russian army in 2020, towards the end of his military service. “It just kind of happened. They said there would be classes, jumping, we would ride [at the exercises], practice. That’s why I decided,” he told Fontanka. On February 25, 2022, Dmitry and his colleagues were told that they were going to the exercises in the Crimea. There they were assigned a new task and sent to Kherson, and then to Nikolaev.
On the way to Nikolaev, the Russian military column came under artillery fire and was divided into several parts. About 30 people remained in Dmitry’s group. He said that after that they continued to fire – and the Ukrainian troops, according to him, allegedly used cluster munitions.
We were being fired upon. Seriously shot at. Moreover, they fired, as the Ukrainians say, with something that cannot be fired at. According to the Geneva Convention. We were fired from “Points” and from these … I forgot, with ammunition that is prohibited. There were no phosphors. And those that scatter like petals tear people apart. I saw it.
For the night, a group of military men, in which Paramoshkin was, stopped in a forest belt. When he woke up, he found himself alone. “They left me, it turns out, they forgot,” Dmitry said. Three days later, he left the forest in search of food, and he was immediately detained by the Ukrainian military. The soldier was taken to New Odessa, and then to Vinnitsa, where he was placed in a pre-trial detention center.
Paramoshkin claims that he was regularly beaten in captivity: “They beat him, of course, in the legs, kidneys, stomach. They tried not to hit me in the face.” To get food, the soldier said, he was required to sing the Ukrainian anthem, which he did not know. Later, prisoners from the DPR, who knew the words of the anthem, were put in Dmitry’s cell.
According to Paramoshkin, the prisoners were beaten after they showed footage of the shelling of Ukrainian cities and other news on TV.
Let’s say Bucha was: 400 people, they raped people, something like that. They come in, they say: “Did you see it on the news?” – “Well, I saw it.” Well, they started beating. “Here are your Nazis, your liberators, whom you are freeing.” Also for Mariupol, for Kharkov. The bombing starts, they show on the news, they come in. “Saw?” – “Saw”. Well, you get.
When asked by a Fontanka journalist what he himself thinks about the events in Bucha, Paramoshkin replied: “I think our people could not do that. I think it’s staged. Like most of their news, it’s just a staging.”
Paramoshkin became one of the Russian prisoners with whom Vladimir Zolkin recorded a video, a Ukrainian blogger who published more than 100 interviews with Russian prisoners during the war. Dmitry claims that the video was staged, and he was given answers to questions in advance. According to the soldier, only two fragments were not staged – when he spoke about the circumstances of captivity and during a telephone conversation with his mother, which was organized during the recording.
Paramoshkin spent about a month and a half in captivity. On April 19, he, along with other prisoners, was transported to a pre-trial detention center closer to the border with the Zaporozhye region, and soon an exchange took place.
In the morning they put us on a bus, put bags over our heads, took us to some bridge, it was blown up. On one side there were two Ukrainian buses and there were 46 of us. On the other hand, there were three “Kamaz” of our Russians, “Lynxes” and Ukrainian prisoners of war. There, a bridge was blown up, a river, and stones were thrown. We passed under the bridge, got up, and then the Ukrainians went. It turns out, on both sides. They got on the bus, we got into the Kamaz. And they’ve taken it from there. You could say it’s like in the movies.
In an interview with Fontanka, Paramoshkin said that he was going to return to the war. “I am a military man, simple. My boys were there. Find out how they are. Plus, we have progress. All is well, tactics have changed. It all happened because of unpreparedness. They didn’t tell us that we were going to Ukraine, they didn’t prepare us for this, ”he said.
The mother of Dmitry Paramoshkin called her son a patriot who defends his homeland, and refused to admit that Russia attacked Ukraine.
How right, how wrong, I have no right to judge. Who am I? But I believe that Russia is still not an aggressor. I believe that all this is done correctly. What do these Natsiks need… Even Dima says that these Nazis need to be… removed.