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Ukrainian GUR servicemen “bury” themselves as part of psychological training

Servicemen of GUR, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate, conduct the most difficult tasks, including raids to the enemy rear or, like in the recent case, taking under control oil rigs in the Black Sea near Crimea.
The “Warrior’s Burial” training procedure. Photo provided by GUR servicemembers
Ukrainian GUR servicemen “bury” themselves as part of psychological training

Servicemen of one of GUR’s special units, “Artan,” described their training to BBC Ukrainian service.

To the question of whether it is possible, for example, to protect oneself from phosphorus shells, a fighter with the callsign “Saba” answers: “Yes, to undergo psychological training.”

In his unit, all fighters go through the “Warrior’s Burial” procedure, an ancient rite, to free oneself from the fear of death. The commander does this first.

Usually, a fighter digs a grave for himself up to a meter deep. Then, he writes on a piece of paper everything that he considers superfluous in life and that he is ready to get rid of. He burns the paper.

After that, he lies down in a pit and is buried in it. A diving mask with a tube is given for mouth breathing. In such a “training grave,” a serviceman lies from 40 minutes to four hours.

Buried underground, you stop feeling your body, you completely lose control over it. Instead, it becomes clear how much you can control your mind, feelings, and thoughts. Our work involves complete self-control and trust in your brothers and sisters who have to dig you out. You are completely dependent on others,” “Saba” describes this experience.

He adds that after many years of training, he “doesn’t feel anything” when he performs this exercise.

It’s a skill for me, like shooting. I don’t need to go to the range every day to maintain this skill. It’s enough to do it once a week or two.

Each commander can decide for himself whether to include such training in the preparation of GUR special forces. This training teaches servicemembers to withstand huge psychological and physical loads.

We bury ourselves alive in the ground to accept death. After that, we go on a special mission. If you accept the fact that you can die, you can calmly and effectively do your job.

A fighter in GUR has to go through many other artificial stresses. For example, servicemembers simulate a concussion, after which they immediately shoot at a target. They learn to shoot with their left hand, being right-handed, they must know all the technical characteristics of Russian weapons and be able to swim with their hands and feet tied.

We get tired no less from training than from special tasks. After the first half hour of training, a person wants a UFO to fly and take him to the moon. We need to check his moral and psychological stability. This is the so-called “roasting,” says “Saba”.

And after “own funerals” and “roasting,” it is time to go to the enemy’s rear or difficult landing operations. Although the training of special forces never stops.

In August of this year, the “Artan” unit conducted an operation on the oil and gas rigs in the Black Sea. This was preceded by dozens of other special tasks. They prepared the de-occupation of Ukrainian territories and carried out landings on the eastern bank of the Dnipro.

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