The Ukrainian Security Service has posted a video of the interrogation of Evgenii Yerofeyev, a Russian GRU officer captured after a battle near Shchastya on 16 May 2015. An interview with Aleksandr Aleksandrov, also taken prisoner after this battle, was shared on social media earlier. The two wounded Russian servicemen are receiving medical treatment. Moscow continues denying that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, claiming that the two militarymen are no longer in active duty, while having indeed served previously in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, but at the same demanding that Ukraine releases the two captives. A transcript of the interrogation is below.
Yerofeev E.V.: I am a citizen of the Russian Federation Yerofeev Evgenii Vladimirovich, reside in Tolyatti city. I am an active duty officer of the Russian Federation. My military rank is captain, my position is a group commander. I serve in the 3rd Guards Separate Brigade based in Tolyatti city.
Interviewer: What is the ID information of the brigade commander?
Yerofeev E.V.: Lieutenant colonel Shchepel’ Sergey Anatolievich. I moved into Luhansk region in early April, I don’t remember the exact date, as part of the 2nd squadron of the 3rd Guards Separate Special Forces Brigade. The acting squadron commander is major Napolskikh, a citizen of the Russian Federation, a serviceman. We were assigned with a task to conduct the reconnaissance by observation of the forward line of adversary troops and elements deployed nearby – units of the resistance and Cossacks. The squadron is deployed in Luhansk city. I don’t remember the exact address, but it is the private residences area close to the Vavilov quarter. The squadron comprised three companies, with four groups in each. My group consisted of twelve men: myself – the group commander, deputy group commander, two section commanders, two snipers, two machine-gunners, two combat engineers, two reconnaissance agents, two senior reconnaissance agents. All are the citizens of the Russian Federation. Deputy commander of the group – warrant officer Azimov, section leaders – corporal Kutulakhmetov and senior sergeant Yulaiev, recon agents/combat engineers – Spiridonov Kirill and Gladkov Alexandr, recon agents/paramedics – Grigoriev Vladimir and Alexandr Aleksandrov.
The mission was to conduct reconnaissance by observation, with at that time order not to cross the contact line, not to open unnecessary fire. Due to the persistent shelling of the positions, I decided to change the position and moved forward in a group of three in search for the new position. In the course of searching for new positions, I stumbled upon old trenches and surveiled them. The trenches seemed to be abandoned. We decided to examine them. I ordered two men to check the trenches. I stayed to watch their backs. When the militaries entered the trench, the slaps followed and then – they are running shouting ‘Retreat!’. We started to retreat when they opened fire at us. I got gunshot wounded into the hand, a comminuted fracture; I fell down and fainted for a while. When I was up I started to crawl, I didn’t creep far away – militaries came from the trenches. They didn’t kill me; they detained me and rendered aid. And now I’m here. When I was detained, frankly speaking, I thought that they would kill me at once. I wanted to blow myself up with a grenade, but the right hand would not obey, I couldn’t reach it. I failed. I could not reach it with the left hand either. While I was doing that, militaries came from the trenches and detained me. They put me in a stretcher and carried me away. I was taken to a hospital in Shchastya. I was given first medical aid there.
Interviewer: What is your opinion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
Yerofeev E.V.: A lot is being told on our side. As to what I have seen myself – I have no complaints against the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Interviewer: Does that what they say to you on TV in Russia correspond to the reality?
Yerofeev E.V.: A lot is told on the TV. We don’t watch everything and don’t listen to everything either. I think no one needs this war. While the top circles are skimming the cream, the lower are choking with blood.