‘We killed three Russians’: the secretive Ukrainian special forces taking the fight across the border

The Guardian

By Daniel Boffey
Ukrainian saboteurs Taras, Olexiy and Vladyslav walk out of a cafe in Taras Shevchenko Park in central Kyiv. Photograph: Ed Ram/The Guardian

If the worst happens, Taras, 23, Vladyslav, 21, and their commander, Olexiy, 39, are well aware that the Ukrainian government will deny any knowledge of them. In western capitals, there is a collective shudder at the very thought of them.

They are members of the Bratstvo battalion, a volunteer group of Ukrainian special forces, taking the fight against Vladimir Putin beyond the frontlines of the war in Ukraine, past the occupied areas of their country – and deep into Russia.

Their work ranges from the kidnapping of senior Kremlin officials, to the destruction of key military infrastructure and the downing of enemy aircraft on Russian territory.

It might seem odd for a battalion such as theirs to allow their stories to be heard in public. But that is to misunderstand their purpose. In everything they do, there is a single message they want to send. “It is very easy for us to cross the Russian border,” says Vladyslav, the youngest of the three, with a smile.

Publish : 2023-02-06 10:49:00

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