“Hi mom, wife. I’m here for you!”: the first mobilized Russians arrived in the LPR

A week ago, the first mobilized Russians were brought to the LPR

A week ago, the first mobilized Russians were brought to the LPR

A photo: Alexander KOTS

For the past week, a small town near Lugansk, where I have been living for the past couple of months, has been waking up to the roar of tank shots and mortar explosions. The rear area, although the Hymars got here, and relatively calm. Therefore, for the first time, when there was a rumble outside the windows, I almost fell half asleep under the bed. To the hoot of heavy guns were added the “trills” of heavy machine guns and the drum roll of 30-mm cannons. In the yard, the neighbors stuck out in the basement doorway, looking inquiringly at my figure in the window – what kind of news, how could the enemy come so close?

He couldn’t, he shook his head, pretending to be completely calm. The case when the city did not immediately think that there were exercises. What are the exercises during the hostilities? And these are unprecedentedly close to combat conditions. Closer nowhere.

The first mobilized Russians arrived in the LPR

The first mobilized Russians arrived in the LPR

A photo: Alexander KOTS

A week ago, the first mobilized Russians were brought to the LPR – several hundred people. They settled in a tent camp and work in the fields from morning to evening. And if it were not for the daily wake-up cannonade, then I would have perceived the shooting at the entrance to the training ground as indicative, especially for the arrival of journalists. But the officer of the press service of the Central Military District, who invited me to visit, promised: no show off.

The first thing that caught my eye was the variegated equipment on the fighters. So, really, for the sake of a beautiful picture for a TV set, they don’t dress. In war, the uniformity of uniform is not the most important guarantee of success. And here it is well understood. Because 100 percent of the instructors who train the new recruits have been fighting in the special military operation zone for several months now. They were removed from the front line not in order to beautifully dress up the “youngsters”, but in order to convey the experience that was literally obtained with their own blood.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– Two motorized rifle brigades are being trained here at the same time as part of their regular units, – we are met by an acting officer of the Central Administrative District, who oversees training at this training ground. – In parallel, one of the battalions, which is undergoing training, is understaffed here, on the spot. Here they began with the training of crews for assault units. These are BMP-1, BMP-2, T-80, T-72 tanks. When the mobilization was in full swing, they began to train everyone – both grenade launchers and mortar crews, driving techniques, shooting, grenade throwing. Training places for medical training have been deployed, for psychological preparation for an attack by tanks. For engineering training, a training place has been deployed, for communications – two points. One with the crews, the other with the commanders of motorized rifle units, who will work as radio stations from the ground. In this volume, every day, day-night, without any days off.

What are the exercises during the hostilities?  And these are unprecedentedly close to combat conditions.

What are the exercises during the hostilities? And these are unprecedentedly close to combat conditions.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– Is the specificity more defensive or offensive?

– We are preparing for both that and that type of battle. Because people who go forward stop sooner or later to let other units through their battle formations. You need to be able to conduct your military operations on the defensive. Our people are friendly. Battalions are more or less formed in the regions. They even find common acquaintances in civilian life, there are relatives here. Those who are older force, pull up the young, so that they do not shirk from classes. We understand what a crew is. If the gunner-operator is out of order or he is unprepared, then there will be no point from the commander and mechanic. One will be able to maneuver, the other will command. And if it doesn’t hit, then the task will not be completed.

Two motorized rifle brigades are being trained here at the same time

Two motorized rifle brigades are being trained here at the same time

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– But there is no such thing: I served in the Airborne Forces, and you are just a motorized rifleman …

“I am here for this,” the officer cuts off in a strict bass. And this is my third war.

Did you recruit instructors yourself?

– Personally traveled all brigades and divisions of our army. Where there were not enough officers, who at that time are at the forefront, the most trained sergeants were selected, who were fighting from the first day. All with combat experience. In every direction, in every type of military equipment and weapons, in shooting training, everywhere there are people who really fought with these particular weapons.

A young boy with a sparse mustache was explaining something to the adult men sitting on the armor. I have been told about it before. Only this year he graduated from the Novosibirsk School, in the SVO from the first day. He was wounded twice, the last time his BMP was shot down near Krasny Liman. The crew commander is literate, fired upon, knows both the intricacies of the combat vehicle and the manner of the enemy.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– Come on, first single, to see where you get, then we correct and turn, – he admonishes his student, who is two times older than the teacher. But he listens respectfully, nodding his head.

At one of the lines, the mobilized learn to fire from a 30-mm cannon.

– We are firing on a combat reconnaissance vehicle – BRM for short, – Ensign Alexander Kachanov reports. He has been in the army since 1999 and has something to share with new recruits. – People are all adults, they catch on the fly. Once they fired from the BMP-1, now we are retraining them on a new machine. I thought it would be worse, but it’s nice that people learn quickly, very quickly.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

Nearby, right on the grass, mobilized fighters are sitting at a simple meal. Buckwheat porridge with stew from a dry ration is heated on dry alcohol. Although for most of the personnel, hot meals are provided here.

– A picnic in nature, – the guys laugh.

– Where? I ask.

– Kamensk-Uralsky, Pervouralsk, Serdlovsk region …

A photo: Alexander KOTS

Someone served in the infantry near Yekaterinburg, someone as a BMP-2 gunner in the Khabarovsk Territory, someone as a border guard in Dagestan. One is a welder, the other is a warehouse picker…

– Not scary? I ask.

– Fear must be present.

How are instructors set up?

– Well done, they teach everything they know. And most importantly, in an intelligible language, – they laugh, – without wisdom. What would be straight bang – and immediately everything is clear.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

Men do not complain about difficult living conditions. Although it is clear that “acclimatization” is not easy. These, of course, are not graduates of the Institute of Noble Maidens. But when you are pulled out of your usual life and thrown into the annoying rain at the training ground, you yearn for your “comfort zone”. Here the instructors are trying with might and main so that there is no time left for melancholy.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– We do not see them, we do not hear them, they are in ambush, roughly speaking. The senior shooter goes further – 15-20 meters. We have an attack on the right. No more commands are needed, everything is clear to everyone. We take the right position. Senior shooter covers the rear. He looks back. Back to us. We are all in the field. We’re going to have a crosshair. I have such an angle of attack, it overlaps my angle of attack. You get his angle of attack from that side. Here, in such a checkerboard pattern. Fleeing. We need to expand and make a crescent to crush the enemy with fire. I mean, the grenade launcher sits, the machine gun comes first. So that he scribbles sat there uncontrollably, – the instructor commands on the site.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

“Recruits” master the basics of combat tactics, moving across the field. Someone is still clumsy, someone feels the movements worked out at the “urgent” time – after all, you won’t forget how to ride a bicycle.

– Where do you come from? I ask the machine gunner.

– From Novouralsk, – the fighter answers laconically.

What did you do in civilian life?

– Worked at the Ural meat yard.

– Did you serve the “urgent” for a long time?

– year 2012.

– Where did you serve?

– Military unit 3275, the city of Lesnoy.

– How long has it been here?

– A week. Combat tactics, shooting, coordination. The first essential.

– How are you feeling?

– Like everyone else, fighting.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– At this site, the approach, the inspection of the strong point, after knocking out the enemy and the action of the head patrol in the general group, is being worked out, – the instructor in a balaclava explains to me at the next turn.

This is an active intelligence officer, therefore he hides his face. He himself went on raids more than once, including behind enemy lines. Identified enemy targets, aimed artillery at them. Now he teaches guys to work in twos and fours. The main feature is that these reconnaissance groups will go to the front line in this well-organized composition.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– We work! shouts the instructor.

And four fighters one by one move towards the “enemy”.

– Empty! – the first one shouts, bends down, and goes to the tail, the one who is standing behind him continues shooting.

The first time I saw this exercise was at the exercises of the Donetsk special unit of the legendary Motorola Sparta. And these people know a lot about combat training. Surprise, suppression by fire, feeling the shoulder of a comrade walking nearby … This must be learned before you get into a real battle. To develop skills to automatism.

“Commander, come on again,” the men say, as if apologizing. – You have been studying this all your life, and we are only the third day.

– To the original!

On a hillock, three fighters are deploying a 120-mm mortar. They busily unpack wooden boxes, take out mines, hang powder bags on them, insert an expelling charge. And they do it as if they know this craft from birth.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– Who did you serve in the emergency? – I ask one.

– The number of the mortar crew, – the guy from the Chelyabinsk region smiles, confirming my guess.

– You are right in your specialty.

They asked me what I could do and I answered.

– How long have you served?

– In 2017.

– And who worked as a civilian?

– I am a welder at the factory ZHBI-74.

– And you? I ask his partner.

– Served as a senior gunner. And he worked in sales.

– Would you like to say hello to your family?

– I’ll say hello to my mother, wife. Hell, I don’t even know. I’m here for you guys.

A photo: Alexander KOTS


It may seem to someone that I have painted a too idealistic picture. After all, there are a lot of examples when the mobilized at the collection points are either not engaged, or they are taught the wrong thing. Why, for example, drill future attack aircraft with drill exercises? But it all depends on the commander. And if somewhere on the mainland an indifferent instructor does not care where his wards end up, then the training will be appropriate.

Here the situation is different. Representatives of the Central Military District are preparing units for themselves right on the spot. They know that the success of the tasks of their connection will depend on the quality of training. And if someone fails to work on the training ground, this can have a detrimental effect in a real battle. From that they are engaged from morning to evening, sparing no ammunition. And people here perfectly understand why they are here.

A photo: Alexander KOTS

– We are not superintelligence, we are the elite of the ground forces, the infantry, – the fighter, who has already taken the call sign “Diesel”, laughs. – So we are brave people, fighting spirit is at five. And to fellow Ukrainians, I would say this. We are always side by side – Belarus, Ukraine, Russia – always together. Why are they so? NATO is now training them, inciting them against Russia, but they do not understand that we should live together, in the neighborhood. And those areas that the president recognized are already in the Russian Federation, and in any case we will not give them away. No matter how anyone wants it, neither in Europe, nor in Kyiv, nor in Lvov. No one really wanted war, but they force us, they simply force us to fight …

“Not everyone shares your position,” I hint at those who fled to Kazakhstan and Georgia.

– They have no homeland, no flag. Everyone is scared. But if mobilization was announced, where did you run when the Motherland is in danger. I can’t understand this.


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