The war in Ukraine: Saving the “Spartan”

Despite numerous attempts by the Ukrainian government to turn volunteer battalions against each other, the people who on their own took up arms and went to the front to fight for the sovereignty and independence of their country continue to support and help one another.

A remarkable confirmation of this is the story of how working together the soldiers of the “Right Sektor” and “Donbas” battalions helped the battalion “Azov” pull an armored vehicle, a KrAZ “Spartan” damaged by the separatists out of the field of battle.

Serhiy Hryn, commander of the 2nd Company Battalion of the 8th Ukrainian Volunteer Corps “Right Sektor” situated in the vicinity of Shyrokino near Mariupol tells us what happened. “We were conducting reconnaissance missions in neutral territory near Shyrokino when the armored vehicle KrAZ, owned by the ‘Azov’ battalion was damaged by the separatists. An inspection of the vehicle was conducted and it was discovered that the vehicle had been booby-trapped. During a lull in the fighting I contacted the commanding officers, reported our plan to recover the vehicle and received approval. A soldier, code name ‘Dalnoboi’ from the battalion ‘Donbas’ came over to help us with a KrAZ tow truck.


The recovery operation was begun after dark. The damaged vehicle was right on the boundary line. ‘Dalnoboi’ hitched ‘Spartan’ and pulled it with his tow truck in the direction of the Ukrainian soldiers. Half way there the cable broke. Everything had to be started all over again. This time with heavy machine guns the separatists started shelling the Ukrainian positions. A group of 5 fighters covered us by bringing attention to themselves, and that diversionary tactic confused the separatists. It was a very dangerous situation. Because the separatists did not stop the shelling we were forced to take a break.

Returning to the vehicle was possible in half an hour when the attacks by the separatists began to subside. Again ‘Dalnoboi’ hitched the vehicle and this time he was able to pull it to a safe place. Here again the cable broke, but this time the vehicle had already been recovered and the combat mission was accomplished.”

The next day when the “Right Sektor” contacted the “Azov” battalion it turned out that the recovered vehicle had special meaning to them. When the KrAZ was hit by separatist fire the fighters of “Azov” battalion were inside and were killed in the attack. Serhiy Hryn and his combat buddies made the decision to return the recovered KrAZ to the “Azov” battalion so that the vehicle would continue to serve the soldiers in defending Ukraine.


P.S. Sadly, the hero of the story, Serhiy Shilov, code name “Hryn” is no longer with us. On July 17, 2015 the Hero was killed in combat near Shyrokino. We, the EMPR team, extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Serhiy. Eternal memory!

Lili des Cévennes, EMPR

EMPR, O.R. contributed to this publication

This article is also available in Russian on


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