Dressed in his army uniform, Filatev, 33, was part of Russia’s invasion force on February 24. But now he opposes a “terrible war” that Russia has no “moral right” to launch.
Putin’s soldiers did not know they were invading Ukraine until they were returned fire by Kiev forces, a former paratrooper in the Russian army has revealed.
Pavel Filatiev, 33, said he woke up at 2 a.m. on the day the attack began when he heard gunfire coming from the back of an army truck crossing the border.
He asked: ‘Are we advancing the Ukrainians?
‘Where we were going and why we were going was not revealed. It was clear that a real war had begun. I found it [we had] Order to go to Kherson.’
When the shelling began and Ukrainian soldiers began shooting at Russian vehicles, Filativ said he felt he was under attack in a neighboring country.
He added: ‘It became clear that we had invaded Ukraine.’
In an explosive new book, Filativ highlights dire vulnerabilities, from unsafe uniforms to army medics without syringes or painkillers.
The paratrooper was part of the original botched attack, but was soon released on medical grounds.
Russian commanders are using ‘our grandfather’s tactics’, he said.
In devastating quotes highlighted by independent media outlets iStories and Meduza, Powell wrote: ‘We had no moral right to attack another country, especially one close to us.
‘When it all started, I knew very few people who believed in the Nazis and, [who] Wanted to fight against Ukraine.
‘We didn’t have hatred and we didn’t think of Ukrainians as enemies.
‘Most of the army is unhappy with what is happening there.
Filativ (left and right) claims ‘the majority of the military is dissatisfied with what is happening in Ukraine’. He said President Putin has taken his country’s soldiers ‘hostage’ in a ‘terrible war’.
‘[They’re] Disaffected with the government and their commanders, towards Putin and his policies, [and] With the Minister of Defence, Jo [has not served] in the army.
‘We’ve all become hostages of too much power and I think we’ve drifted away.
‘We started a terrible war. A war that destroys cities and kills children, women and the elderly.’
The lack of preparation began when he was issued an ill-fitting second-hand uniform.
He said: ‘I refused to accept used uniforms that did not fit, which caused my relationship with the command to deteriorate.
‘After arguing with the company commander I went and bought a pea coat.’
Soldiers fell ill during training because they were not given warm clothing in sub-zero temperatures, Fillativ said. He is pictured in army gear at a Russian military base
Due to training for war, many soldiers fell ill because they did not have proper uniforms.
‘We went [training] field for [parachute] jumps,’ he said.
‘At night, it was below zero and we were driving in open KamAZ trucks.
‘Many soldiers had no warm clothes: some had none, others refused to accept them.
‘Within a week, about 30 people from my unit were admitted to the infectious disease unit.’
All those who fell ill were on training jumps pushed into occupied Crimea, he said.
‘In the middle of February, my company was at Stari Krim’s training ground. I realized that something was definitely brewing – everyone who had been discharged or sick had been rounded up and sent to the training ground.
Former paratrooper Pavel also criticized Russian military tactics as ‘our grandfathers’.
A wrecked Russian tank is on display in downtown Kiev as locals applaud the efforts of their soldiers
‘Over the next few days we went to the firing range, where I finally picked up my machine gun.
‘It turned out that my machine gun belt was broken and rusted.
The first night of shooting [cartridge] It’s jammed.’
Despite Putin’s regime denying that it was going to war at some point on February 20, everyone was immediately ordered to pack up and get out.
‘He was about to make a forced march to an unknown destination.
‘At that point, everyone was already dirty and tired.
‘Some had been living on the training ground for almost a month…everyone’s nerves were on edge, and the atmosphere became more serious and incomprehensible.’
The start of the war was chaotic with their own commanders not knowing what to do.
‘On February 23, the division commander arrived and wished us a happy holiday [Defender of the Fatherland Day]It has announced that the daily wage will be 69 dollars from tomorrow [£57].
When the war started Filativ said: ‘I don’t understand: are we shooting Ukrainians as we advance?’
‘It was a clear sign that something serious was about to happen.
‘[On February 24]I woke up at 2 am [in the back of a KamAZ truck].
‘ The column was lined up somewhere in the wilderness, and everyone had turned off their engines and headlights.
‘Rocket artillery was moving to the right and left of our column.
‘I don’t understand: are we firing at the Ukrainians to advance?
‘Or maybe in NATO [forces]? Or are we attacking? Is this the purpose of the shelling of hell?
‘ The pillar began to move slowly.
‘I heard gunshots and explosions from the way we were going.
‘We were already wounded and dead [servicemen].
‘There was no communication with the command. The commander did not understand what was happening.’
He told how his army killed civilians.
‘I found out that someone fired a BMD cannon at a civilian vehicle. A mother and some children were in the car. Only one child survived.’
He revealed that Putin is confident of taking control of Ukraine in a day with a military stuck in the past and unprepared for war.
“All our training was on paper, our technology was old,” he said.
‘We still have the same strategy as grandfather.
‘Those who broke first perished.
Luiza, 74, from Kramatorsk, watches as locals repair damaged houses after the bombing
‘The boys told me there were [only] 50 left in his brigade.
‘[When] As darkness fell, the entire team hunkered down.
‘It was very cold. No one had a sleeping bag, the cold got to your bones.
‘We didn’t even need an enemy, the order put us in this situation – the homeless live well.
‘[The next day] We reached the port of Kherson.
‘Everyone started looking for food, water, a place to shower and sleep.
‘Some started stealing computers and anything valuable they could find. I was no exception: I found a hat in a broken-down truck and took it.’
He said, ‘The office had a canteen with a kitchen and a fridge.
‘We ate everything there like savages.
‘During the night, we turned everything upside down.’
Filatiev recounted how ‘in mid-April, I had gunshot wounds and keratitis in my eyes.
‘After five days of suffering, at which point
Eyes already closed, I was kicked out.
‘The paramedic who sent me out told me to tell the medical detachment that he didn’t have any syringes or painkillers.’
He disclosed that ‘we were taken to one of the barracks reserved for those discharged from the hospital.
British GMLRS rocket launchers (pictured being tested in the UK) have been sent to Ukraine
‘There were a hundred men who had come back from the war and were coming back after what they had been through.
‘One was very shaken, I saw two men with impaired memory, [and] A lot of people drank their hard earned money there.’
The paratrooper said: ‘I had to buy treatment and medicine with my own money.
‘For two months I tried to get treatment from the army: I went to the prosecutor’s office, I went to the command, I wrote a letter to the head of the hospital and to the president.
‘I decided to go through the Military-Medical Board [the army] For health reasons.
‘The command has said that I have run away from service, and have sent documents to the prosecutor’s office for criminal prosecution. They are using this bluff to send more people back.’
In the war he felt compromised by the leadership of the army.
‘I can only lay down my arms and run away and be a coward or follow everyone [Ukrainians],’ he said.
‘Now I understand that I have been used.’
Putin’s propaganda media, use of draconian laws, promises of more cash to fighters, and use of honors and medals are locking soldiers into the war machine, he said.
‘I understood that if I suddenly see danger from a house… I will shoot without thinking.
‘Neglect or delay is the death of me or my friends, suspicion is dangerous.
‘But at the same time, I don’t want to kill anyone.
‘The death of innocent civilians has happened and will happen in any war, but it is abhorrent to the soul.
‘Our governments are trying to figure out how to survive, and the armies on both sides are their weapons, peaceful people are dying, their accustomed world is being destroyed.
‘When you feel it, you don’t know what to do.
‘Abandon everything, then you become a coward and a traitor.
If you continue to participate in this work, you will help many people die and suffer.’
His Russian book is titled ‘ZOV’ after the emblems painted on Putin’s military vehicles.