• A Russian soldier said his elite unit stole food and computers from a Ukrainian city "like savages."
  • In a memoir, he described the day his unit entered the captured port city of Kherson.
  • He detailed how his unit was tired, poorly fed, and poorly equipped to fight in Ukraine. 

A Russian soldier who deployed to Ukraine early in the war said his paratrooper unit looted the captured Ukrainian city of Kherson and stole computers, clothes, and food. He said they were "like savages," just trying to survive.

Pavel Filatyev is a 33-year-old former member of the Russian military's 56th Airborne Regiment, a component of the elite Russian Airborne Forces stationed in Crimea. He published a lengthy memoir on social media in early August that recounts his experience fighting his country's unprovoked war in Ukraine. 

In one excerpt from the memoir that was published and translated by the Guardian, Filatyev details how his exhausted, underfed, and poorly equipped VDV unit arrived in early March at Ukraine's southern port city of Kherson, which was the first major city to fall to Russian forces.  

Filatyev, who recalled deploying with a rusty rifle that had a broken strap and jammed, said the soldiers who arrived in Kherson looked "worn-out and feral," and began to ransack the city looking for things to steal. Some, he said, grabbed computers, clothes, and other valuable items that were "worth more" than their salaries.

When they arrived at cafeterias inside office buildings, Filatyev said his unit ate everything they could find "like savages." Finding a place to sleep was completely chaotic, and soldiers were fighting over a chance to shower, he said.

"We didn't give a damn about anything, we'd already been pushed to the limit. Most had spent a month in the fields with no hint of comfort, a shower or normal food," the ex-paratrooper wrote.

"What a wild state you can drive people to by not giving any thought to the fact that they need to sleep, eat and wash," Filatyev said in his memoir. "Everything around gave us a vile feeling."

"Like wretches, we were just trying to survive," he wrote.

"I was disgusted by all this yet realised that I was part of it all," Filatyev said. "The command must not have cared about its people who were giving everything to carry out their plans, which were not so clear to us. They turned people into absolute savages, ignoring the fact that they need to sleep, eat, and take a shower."

Filatyev also detailed experiences from his 141-page memoir — named "ZOV" after Russia's pro-war symbol — in an interview with the Guardian from Moscow. Insider has not been able to independently verify Filatyev's account of what happened in Kherson.  

After weeks of fighting in southern Ukraine, Filatyev said he was eventually wounded and evacuated from the war zone after his eye became infected, almost blinding him. This week, he fled Russia.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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