A fighter from Ukraine’s elite 10th Special Forces Detachment – known as the Shaman battalion for their “supernatural” ability to infiltrate enemy position undetected – revealed how he always aims his gun at his opponents groin.
The man, who used the code-name “Twenty Two” in his interview with The Times, explained that Ukrainian fighters try to engage the Russians at point-blank range to avoid the invaders’ artillery.
Twenty Two said the it’s difficult to move silently while carrying full load of equipment – and it’s even trickier now the clip is broken on his night-vision googles and he has to hold them rather than attach them to his helmet.
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Even with the regular shipments from Britain and the US, replacing damaged weapons and equipment is always a problem, he said.
But even with all of the difficulties they face, the Shaman battalion still manage to surprise Putin’s troops.
Twenty Two said: The first guy that saw me…he didn’t expect us.
“He was afraid and I just shot him from maybe seven metres away, underneath the [bulletproof] plate carrier.
“You’re always shooting at the balls, there is not enough protection there, it’s 100% to kill the enemy.
“You’re destroying his arteries and breaking his pelvis. He cannot escape, he cannot run, he cannot crawl, he cannot do anything. It’s impossible to give first aid to a man wounded in this area. You can’t use a tourniquet or bandage.”
He says that in their close-quarters engagements, he and his comrades can tell that the Russians’ morale is suffering: “We’re always trying to keep tight, to grab the belt of the enemy, because at that point they can’t use their artillery.
“They have a lot more artillery than us, but their morale is very low, they can’t engage in one-on-one combat. It’s psychologically very difficult to stand in a firefight where you’re using frag grenades and underslung grenade launchers.”
The Russians have massive superiority in terms of air and artillery assets, but the daring stealth tactics of the Shaman battalion – sometimes venturing over the border to strike at ammo dumps and fuel depots in Russia itself – are levelling the playing field.
But the elite special forces fighters know they can’t keep up their hit-and-run tactics forever.
The UK is sending M270 multiple-launch rocket systems to help Ukrainians to protect themselves against Russian artillery and Defence Minister James Heappey recently confirmed that “hundreds” of Brimstone missiles were also on their way.
President Zelenskyy’s forces will need more advanced kit to beat Putin’s artillery. US politician Jason Crow, himself an Iraq war veteran, told the US House of Representatives: “he needs more sophisticated, longer-range drones that can target, that have sophisticated precision-strike munitions and that can also return and be used multiple times and be rearmed.”