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Home News They thought it was an ambush: how fellow soldiers rescued a wounded volunteer who crawled through a minefield on his hands
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They thought it was an ambush: how fellow soldiers rescued a wounded volunteer who crawled through a minefield on his hands

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

In mid-April reported about a 44-year-old volunteer from Kaliningrad, Vasily Ch. with the call sign Koenik. Last fall, his unit was ambushed near Kremenna. The man was seriously wounded: his spine was damaged and his legs were broken.

For three days he hid from Ukrainian soldiers in a drainage canal without water and food. Another soldier who hid there died of his wounds in his arms. On the fourth day the man decided to crawl to his unit through a booby-trapped field;

The volunteer was saved by a miracle: in the grass he stumbled on a radio that was tuned to the Russian military – mortar men. They radioed a safe route for the wounded man.

tracked down Koenik’s fellow soldiers and learned new details of the soldier’s rescue.

“To be honest, when he radioed us, at first we thought it was the Ukrainian military luring us into an ambush,” recalls 33-year-old volunteer from Tobolsk, Vitaly S. (call sign Oper);

He explains that three days earlier the men from Vasiliy’s unit, who had also been wounded, had marched straight to their positions. They asked for help to evacuate the two “heavy men” – the driver and the gunner – who could not be taken with them.

“We tried to get them out several times the next day. But we couldn’t get closer than 200m to that culvert because of heavy enemy fire. “The Ukrainians controlled the whole area,” Vitaly says.

That’s why, according to the opera, when Konik went on the air, they had fears as to whether the Ukrainian intelligence service was trying to trick them like that.

The man did not take the call sign Opera by accident. Until autumn last year, Vitaly worked in the police, and when partial mobilization began, he quit his job and signed a contract with the Defense Ministry.

“I felt that I would be more useful here to my homeland. She brought me up, gave me a home. I owe her more than anyone. It doesn’t sound like nothing to me,” the volunteer said.

Vitaly is an orphan. He was brought up in an orphanage until he was 16 and then in a foster family.

“My friend and I were placed with a family from the orphanage. And daddy Yura became our family. He treated everybody the same: his kids and us foster kids. He didn’t make any difference. We never felt like strangers,” he recalls.

Vitaly’s foster parents and his wife with their daughter and son saw him off at the station.

“My son was a man, he didn’t cry until he left, but in the garden, he sat down on the bench in the corridor and cried. That’s what the teacher told my wife later. My daughter is in school and she is also proud of me, – continues Vitaly. – I also told him about my family by radio in order to support him. And he told me about his family.

The guard explained to Vasili which side of the forest he had to crawl to avoid hitting a mine.

“I had a map of the minefield, I knew where Könick was and tried to lead him by a safe route,” Vitaly says.

By evening, Könick had crawled through the wooded area, and they decided that the rest of the field he would try to cross the next day, and the evacuation team would meet him.

In the morning it became clear that Könick would not be able to crawl across on his own, so Opel came to him.

“Took off my body armor, left my machine gun and crawled. I got close to him, took him on my back and we got to ours together. Thank God there were no arrivals, – smiles the fighter. – And Vasya – he is tall: he is one meter and eighty, and mine is one hundred and seventy. And when we were crawling his legs were dragging. He’d say, “It hurts,” and I’d say, “Sorry, bro, I can’t carry it back.

A volunteer from Chelyabinsk, Eduard A. (call sign Tadzhik), who participated in the evacuation of Koenik, recalls how worried they were that Ukrainians might spot two people in the field.

“The space was open, everything was shot through. But it worked out,” Tadzhik recalls. – Kyonik was completely exhausted, and we didn’t have a stretcher with us, so we put him on our machine guns and carried him to the tank.

A few days after rescuing Vasiliy, his health problems worsened. He was discharged and returned to Chelyabinsk to join his wife and four children;

The operative came under fire and was badly contused. But now he is at the front line commanding a platoon. “I’ve patched up my wounds, I’m in a fighting mood,” Vitaly says.

The men periodically call Kyonik.

“The first time we called him by video and I saw him, I was in tears, and he was so happy too,” recalls Tadzhik. -Our wives have also gotten to know each other. After the victory, we’ll definitely all meet at the communal table.

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