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Ukrainian sniper: 'Selecting targets is not necessary in modern warfare'

Ukrainian sniper: 'Selecting targets is not necessary in modern warfare' Sniper platoon commander of the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (Photo: RBC-Ukraine)

Read about the successful counter-sniper operation, the counter-offensive in the Kharkiv sector, and the "boy's fight" in Voznesensk in an interview with the 95th Brigade sniper platoon commander for RBC-Ukraine.

A sniper is a mysterious joker who controls the battlefield, always ready to hit a target. And all to make the work of infantrymen easier. His work is risky because the slightest exposure of a position means the enemy will level that place to the ground.

RBC-Ukraine managed to talk to the sniper platoon commander of the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who spoke about the successful organization of a counter-sniper operation, as well as why a sniper must be talkative and what happens when you "play around" with a rifle.

For security reasons, the agency does not disclose the name and call sign of the soldier. Below is his direct speech.

"In Voznesensk we had a "boy's fight"

Since I was 14 years old, I was in the UNA-UNSO organization. This is a nationalist organization that is engaged in both social activities and the organization of training. We were trained by instructors who had combat experience in Abkhazia and Chechnya.

In 2017, I joined the Armed Forces. I signed a contract. I was 18 years old at the time. During the Joint Forces Operation, we had rotations to the Luhansk region. But there was nothing like today. If we compare then and now, these are two completely different wars. If it was developing on several fronts, now it is more extensive. There were no drones. There was no such density of artillery, and aviation did not work so often.

It all started with the defense of Voznesensk. Our brigade took up the defense along the Southern Bug River. We mined the bridges and did everything right. And it was then that I had my first face-to-face encounter. I did not expect this: that an enemy column would just come in. They did not even realize how they got there. They were driving in like an "army on a cigarette". Then our guys shouted that they were Z-rations and we started to hit them.

A fierce battle started. Then everything was flying. It was, in my opinion, a "boy's fight". The artillery was not heavily involved then. And I shot well. When there was no more manpower, I started shooting at the APCs to just "nightmare" them.

There were a lot of maneuvers in the south. We repelled them and rolled them back. Then there was a battle for Katerynivka, Kashpero-Mykolaivka. We were moving along the river. After that, we were transferred to Snihurivka. We had to storm this settlement, but we failed. The enemy was outnumbered. All attempts to storm it were crushed by artillery.

Then we were transferred to Novovoznesensk, the city was under occupation. We stayed there for a month and held our positions well. We had no casualties, but the enemy, as we heard from the intercepts, had requests for rotation, and we defeated them badly.

After that, there was Donbas, we were sent to Bakhmut. The Russians were approaching the city. It was a battle for the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway. I got a concussion there: I decided to fight with Uragan. The result: "Uragan" - 1, I - 0. After being wounded, I immediately returned to duty.

"We raided the enemy's rear in the Kharkiv direction"

At the end of the summer of 2022, we arrived in the Kharkiv direction, had to conduct additional reconnaissance, provide more data so that we could make a breakthrough. When the battalions were collecting all the information, we were collecting data with the scouts in the area of Balakliya.

When we arrived, we immediately got out of the habit: we left the cars and ran to the basement. We sat there and waited: "Where is the shelling? No one has been shooting here for an hour, it can't be so." We thought that this direction had the prospect of an offensive. The village was hit by 40-50 shells a day. I believe that this is practically nothing. Even if 200 shells hit Bohorodychne. I was sitting in a trench at the time, and it was constantly rumbling. It never stopped. And it made me crazy. It was not like that in the Kharkiv direction.

Ukrainian sniper: 'Selecting targets is not necessary in modern warfare'Sniper platoon commander of the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (RBC-Ukraine)

So we prepared and broke through to the Oskil River. About a week later, we forced the river and started pushing the enemy closer to Borova. A little more and we could have pinned them there. That's when I realized that when our artillery is working hard, it can suppress the enemy well. I saw how we were hitting them the same way they were hitting us. I watched all this and thought: "This is how real operations work."

"When they say: "Don't worry, they won't let you use a Grad package". I am convinced that they will."

In combat, I do not do one thing. I see if I can't work as a sniper if the distance is long or the conditions are unfavorable, then I take the Mavic.

In most cases, a sniper waits and shoots, but there are unfavorable conditions for sniper work. It happens that you arrive at the position and the enemy is 2 kilometers away. No matter how good the rifle is, hitting the enemy at 2 km is something out of the realm of fantasy, luck, professionalism, and favorable conditions around you. When snipers were used without thinking about it, we had problems with our personnel. Not on a massive scale, but still.

The conditions were unfavorable. For example, a very long distance between positions, and artillery fire. Then there is not much work for snipers.

Also, very unfavorable weather conditions. For example, if it's winter. The leaves have fallen off, the winds are blowing. If the wind is strong, then shooting is a great success. And if you miss, you can be discovered. The enemy spares nothing for snipers. When they say: "Don't worry, they won't let a Grad package go off on you". I am convinced that they will.

What a sniper should be like

If a sniper gets carried away, the likelihood of being hit becomes high. We cannot take such a risk. A sniper takes a long time to train: three years to call himself a sniper, and then another year to become a good shot. And when you invest so many resources in him, you definitely don't want to lose him because he gets carried away.

The first quality a sniper should have is to talk a lot. People are convinced that he is a closed-minded person, but in modern warfare, he is not. He has to scout the situation as much as possible to understand the situation. He comes to the battalion's COP, and the situation is explained to him. He comes to the company's COP and also learns the information. Then he goes to the soldiers with whom he has to communicate and find out what they saw. He gathers as much data as possible to analyze, arrive, wait for the target, shoot, and leave.

"Nowadays, there is no such thing as a sniper not being interested in soldiers, but only in officers"

Once I spotted a spotter in Voznesensk. While the battle was going on, the man climbed a house and did it in the most stupid way possible. I was looking for targets downstairs, and then I saw a man looking through binoculars and talking on the phone. I thought maybe he was a civilian. But when I looked closely, it was not. I thought: okay, so I shot.

In general, selecting targets is not necessary in modern warfare. You have targets, but you work on what you see. Nowadays, there is no such specialist who would say that he is not interested in soldiers, but only in officers. You shoot everyone.

My luckiest target was in the south. I was thinking of going out to shoot at 1600 meters, just to demoralize the enemy. There was a lull, and when there was a lull, the enemy infantry started wandering. And when we were making a path through the acacia trees, we saw two guys just standing there. They were standing on the road. I looked at them with my rangefinder at 1200 meters, put my rifle up, and fired. One fell down, and the other one just lay down and started shooting with his machine gun in the direction of the village, he didn't see me. But I realized that with the second shot, I would give myself away, so I just crawled out and left.

A cold mind is very important. It's about flirting with positions. When you shoot at a live target, you immediately get an adrenaline rush. You always have to assess the operational situation around you.

When you're in a hurry, you shoot and wait for more to come. But there is a sniper on the other side, and you don't even know that he is there, but he is already waiting for you.

"The best counter-sniping is good artillery"

This is not about a sniper on a sniper. It's about finding out where the sniper is working and leveling that place to the ground. Then it is effective. Because if an enemy sniper is already working and the task is to find him, you realize he is there. But he is already in position and waiting for you. On the one hand, you realize that he is there, and this is a plus. But at the same time, he is looking at you.

Recently, we successfully planned a counter-sniper operation. My guys were going after a sniper who had already hit our soldiers.

Ukrainian sniper: 'Selecting targets is not necessary in modern warfare'Sniper platoon commander of the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (RBC-Ukraine)

Our task is to make it as easy as possible for the infantrymen.

"When planning an operation, you need to assess who is standing opposite you"

In today's conditions, my subordinates are using FPV drones a lot. Previously, it was possible to drive a car as close to the positions as possible and then hide the car, but today the enemy is evolving, even with these drones that search for a target. The transportation and general logistics of the positions have become much more difficult.

It is very important to me who is standing opposite. For example, Russian motorized riflemen are more sucky. The enemy is strong anyway. But if you compare their motorized riflemen and the Airborne Forces, they are two different structures. They are superior in their "skill".

When preparing, I also take into account how often and densely enemy artillery hits these positions. Whether these positions have already been identified or not. Today, there are times when there can be hits even without detecting the target, simply because of the density of artillery.

"Sooner or later, the great mobilization will happen to all men"

Military men who participated in combat are traumatized. It is a society that must take responsibility. I don't know where it came from that a military man should support society, fight, and volunteer. This is a direct transfer of duties and responsibilities.

Sooner or later, all men will have to go through a large-scale mobilization. We have losses, and they have always been there. Every man should come and learn while he has time. We have our own professional instructors, Westerners. If a man does this today, he will have more time to prepare. If it comes to a critical moment, this time to prepare will be lost.

About the chevron "There will be no rotation, we are here until the end". At the beginning of 2022, we were hoping that we would fight for 8 months and then go home, as usual. Like new people would come. But it turns out that we are here all the time. All roads lead to Donbas.