Serhuy Volkov doesn’t believe the Russians stand a chance of conquering Donetsk and Luhansk by the end of March and are terrified by the word HIMARS.
In an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post, Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldier Serhiy Volkov, who is fighting in the Donetsk region, talked about the situation at the front and how the Russians are trying to advance.
As the AFU continues to repel their attacks. Volkov believes that Putin’s order to capture the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by the end of March is totally unrealistic.
Where are you currently serving?
Since summer 2022, I’ve been in the Donetsk sector, and before that, in Kyiv and the Kyiv region. In July, I joined a a brigade holding a large section of the Donetsk frontline. If we liberate Donbas, we will achieve our key goals. Many Ukrainian cities – Bakhmut, Avdeevka, Soledar – have already gone down in history.
What is the situation like at the front? Are the Russians advancing now?
Yes, they have intensified their activity since the New Year, but the situation in our area is stable. There is no looming catastrophe. A week ago, all my friends called me and said that there would be total imminent Armageddon here and that the Russians would launch everything they had. We understand that this has been an actively spreading Russian information operation, even among our soldiers here who thought maybe this is the last time we will see each other, but nothing so big has happened.
What are the Russians’ tactics? Who is fighting on their side –PMC Wagner or regular Russian troops?
In this area, we are fighting mainly with the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (PCR) regular troops, so the Russian army. They use artillery strikes, sometimes aviation, drop bombs, and then their reconnaissance groups and infantry units try to advance. In some cases, they try to outflank our cities, and unfortunately, sometimes, they succeed.
The Russians do not count losses and can take a village of five houses at the cost of a vast number of killed and wounded. Sometimes they fight for months to capture two houses in this village. Most of the time, we repel their attacks, and in some areas, we even reach the positions occupied since 2014.
Have you ever taken Russian war prisoners?
I haven’t, but I have seen the Prisoners of War taken from PMC Wagner. I have not interacted with them in any way because it makes no sense to waste time on this. My cousin is fighting in a neighboring unit, and there were prisoners from Wagner already diagnosed with AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis, but I know they still received medical care. It turns out that the best courageous men are dying on Ukraine’s side, while the Russians are mobilizing prisoners who would have died of their illnesses in a year or so anyway.
Our intelligence says that Putin’s order is to capture the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by the end of March. Do you think they will succeed?
By the end of March, really? This year? It’s unrealistic. They would need hundreds of thousands of servicemen to sacrifice their lives in the Donetsk region alone. Dead Russians are already lying in overcrowded morgues and right on the streets here now. There are positions where they do not even take their dead.
Ordinary Russians do not understand what is happening and do not have a picture of objective reality, so the Russian command does not count losses. Another 200-300,000 dead don’t matter to them because this information will be hidden from Russian citizens.
How would you describe the morale of the Ukrainian military? Do they have enough weapons and ammunition?
To be honest, it varies. Those who have not been on rotation for a long time are somewhat tired. In general, we just work and fulfill our tasks without much emotion. We have enough small arms, but we need more artillery.
The Russians are terrified of the word “Himars.” They run and hide even from other artillery. Russians are terrified. I think that having modern aviation fighters will change the course of the war.
How long do you think the war will last?
We need to be prepared, because it will not end soon. I don’t see the Russians changing their plans, and we haven’t accumulated enough forces and means to drive the Russians away from Ukrainian territory. Of course, we are working on that. In short, I don’t think the war will end this year.
What is the most dangerous situation you have ever been in?
It’s like a lottery here. A big shell can come from 50 meters away. It happened a week ago. Fortunately, everyone is alive. There was a situation in the summer when a shell hit the location where I was supposed to spend the night, but at the last moment I stayed in another place. We had losses then.
What’s your background and how did you get to the front?
Before the full-scale invasion, I was a civilian and worked on environmental projects and was involved in social activities. I even worked as a civil servant, heading up the ecological inspection of Kyiv and the region. I still don’t eat meat because I respect wildlife and animals.
On Feb. 24, I joined the territorial defense of the Holosiivskyi district of Kyiv, but I did not take part in direct combat at that time. After the liberation of the Kyiv region in March, I decided to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and that’s how I ended up in Donbas.
Aleksandra Klitina is a Senior Correspondent for Kyiv Post. A former Deputy Minister in Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, she has more than 10 years of experience working with private and public institutions, as a state servant and in private financial and investment companies.
“The Russians are terrified of the word “Himars.” They run and hide even from other artillery. Russians are terrified. I think that having modern aviation fighters will change the course of the war.”
You’re not paid to think. The WH know better than a guy on the front line, fighting the scum day in and day out.
Sad and painful to read. Ukraine loses their finest. RuZZia just expends psychopaths, rapists and thieves.
Donno. The invaders already took all of Luhansk Oblast and also made gains in Donyetsk past year. They are wearing out the ukrainian armed forces. They send drunk bums to get ukrainians out of their positions, then send the real Wagners to finish them of. When i still was on Twitter i was following a guy who was on the front, he reported about the invaders’ tactics and posted pictures of the awful food rations the ukrainian soldiers get. I think corruption is still a big problem. I’m an optimist by nature, but i do keep my eyes and ears open.
There are parts of Luhansk that have been retaken by the AFU.