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It was Christmas Eve and the Alberta-born sniper was sitting alone in an abandoned apartment on the fifth floor of a building in the battle-torn eastern Ukraine city of Bakhmut. His 50-caliber rifle was leaning against the ironing board and desk, with a blown out window facing the Russian front line.
According to the Albatan, codenamed “Teflon”, the next 24 hours were the bloodiest of his military career. He says that on December 24th he shot dead 15 Russian soldiers. The enemy continued to move towards his sniper positions in small groups. The death of his companion should have persuaded him to change tactics and approach from a different direction.
While it is not possible to verify the details of Teflon’s account, a Globe and Mail analysis of photos shared by Teflon (including one with his sniper rifle’s scope dropped) reveals that he was on a high rise in an apartment building on Teflon’s eastern end. I’ve located him in the upstairs window. Bahmut. The photos, which include views of the thatched roofs of small houses whose roofs were all damaged in the fighting, were taken around Christmas time. One video of him shared by a sniper showed a fire breaking out in a part of a Teflon-geolocated building after an apparent Russian counterattack against his position.
Asked to provide more evidence of the encounter, Teflon, a special forces member of the Ukrainian Defense International Corps, received a text message from a Ukrainian fighter he says worked as his interpreter on Christmas Eve. radio messages from other soldiers about when and where the enemy was approaching. A Ukrainian soldier wrote that he was able to confirm that “at least he witnessed 10 attacks”.
A senior Ukrainian security source also said Teflon’s story was “very likely” in the context of the Battle of Bakmut.Russian commanders ordered waves of troops to dig Ukrainian positions. I saw them launch suicide infantry attacks on the border.
The Globe and Mail does not use Teflon’s real name because Special Forces combatants are prohibited from publicly disclosing their true identities. The name of the senior security guard has not been released because there is no such person.
Ukraine Russia claims it has lost more than 10,000 soldiers in months of fighting. This prompted Russia to slowly advance on the edge of the city, an important transport hub in southeastern Donbas, using “human wave” tactics also used in Ethiopia’s recent civil war. It was last seen during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
Teflon served three years with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry before being released in 2011. for medical reasons. He then worked for a private security firm in North Africa while honing his career in mixed martial arts and participating in sniper competitions. As a member of the International Legion, he is supposed to receive the same monthly salary of about $900 plus combat bonuses as other members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
He views firing a sniper rifle like any other job. Teflon calls his days on the front lines “work” and his goal “human engagement.” But the 34-year-old, whose troops had previously participated in the autumn Ukrainian counteroffensive that liberated the Kharkiv region, began to feel sorry for the poorly trained Russian conscripts who were taking their lives one at a time. .
“The Russians were sending five to seven people at a time, day and night,” he said in an interview in Kyiv. “They are poorly trained and have no concept of it at all.
To explain what happened on December 24, Teflon showed a photo of The Globe he took with his iPhone. A building where a Canadian military veteran and his sniper rifle were waiting.
Many times the Teflon pulled the trigger. He fired 21 rounds that day, a Canadian-made Prairie gun. said to have escaped. “I actually got to the point where I was like, ‘Can you stop? I’m sick of killing people so easily from this place. “
The number of corpses in the “kill zone” on Christmas Eve finally alerted the Russians to the fact that they were in grave danger in that alley below an apartment block. The Russians identified the building where the sniper was supposed to be hiding and commandeered a tank to shell the apartment building.
Teflon says he hid during the bombardment, moved to another room, and re-armed his sniper rifle.
“There are some shots I took that day that will be with me,” he said. I was carrying a box. According to Teflon, it was the longest distance he ever shot. “He didn’t feel threatened and thought he was safe. But it’s my job to let them know that it’s not safe anywhere,” Teflon said. It’s about penetrating the enemy’s mind and making them question everything.”
Another was a conscript killed by Teflon on a cold, gray day with temperatures near freezing. After firing the shot, Teflon looked through his scope as the dead man’s comrade desperately tried to revive him using CPR. I had them pick it up and move it.
He says he killed three more Russian soldiers on the morning of December 25, before taking a break after a 36-hour shift at the front.
Teflon describes working as a sniper as “the most inhumane job in the world, but it’s a very important job, and one I think I’m okay with doing.”
However, he admits that he sympathizes with the Russian conscripts who continued to be sent to Bakhmut. Many are conscripts recruited under a partial mobilization order issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin last fall.
“There are claims that all these Russians must be drugged. There is no way. , I’ve seen them scream and try to pull their friends back when they’re killed.
Yet their commander continues to order them to advance. The tactic has helped Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenary group, which includes thousands of fighters conscripted from prisons, to make incremental gains in and around Bahmut. claimed to have captured the village of Brahodatne in A confirmed victory would further strengthen the Russian siege of the pre-war city of 70,000.
Should Bakhmut fall into Russian hands, it would end months of humiliating defeat and would be the biggest siege for Russia since it captured the nearby industrial towns of Siberodonetsk and Lishansk last summer. It will pay off.
“Sadly, it works. It continues. It’s relentless,” Teflon said. “So they got him 500 meters of dirt, but they took a completely destroyed position and lost hundreds of people.”
Teflon, who was close to both Joseph Hildebrand and Grigori Tzekmistrenko, two Canadian members of the International Legion recently killed in action in Ukraine, says he will stay in the country. After being away from the front in Kyiv, he says he is training with a new elite unit and hopes to return to the front soon.
The loss of his friends Mr. Hildebrandt in November and Mr. Tsefmistenko on January 15, who were murdered near Bakhmut, played a key role in deciding that he would talk about what happened on Christmas Eve. fulfilled.
“The world deserves to hear the truth, and after losing Joe and Greg, they need to understand that we’re not stopping this work.” ”
With a report by Patrick Dell of Toronto.
War in Ukraine: An article in The Globe and Mail
Murat Uxseril / The Globe and Mail, Source: GRAPHIC NEWS
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