Ukraine soldier orders strikes on himself after Russian ambush – he survived

A Ukrainian soldier didn't expect to survive when he became trapped in the frontline trenches against Russia and risked his life by telling his commander to fire down on his own position.

Former handyman Serhi, 36, joined the army soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. But in October the infantryman came close to death as he was assigned a mission to hold down the trenches on the outskirts of Bakhmut.

Now on the frontline and pinned down by enemy fire his unit faced relentless shelling for days when a mortar exploded near to the trench containing Serhii and two others. It cut them off just as they were about to move and broke his comrades' legs and jaws.

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Multiple evacuation teams risked their lives to get to Serhii over the next two weeks of what was supposed to be a three-day mission and some died in the process. He was "under constant enemy fire".

"The enemy seemed to be looking for our weaknesses or testing our endurance,” he said. During the ordeal his commander used a drone to drop off water, painkillers, chocolate and even cigarettes to the location as Serhii remained trapped.

At the same time, Russian drones ambushed the trench with grenades. "It exploded near the other soldier’s back and half a meter from me, near my feet," he recalls. "We were wounded but lucky to survive."

Feeling hopeless, Serhii could hear Russian troops getting closer and closer to his position. Thinking his time was up, he told his commander the coordinates of the enemy and called in artillery strikes on his very own position which could have killed him.

“I was surrounded by enemies,” Serhii explained. “When they couldn’t hear me, I whispered the coordinates again on the radio and our artillery fired at them.”

With all efforts to evacuate Serhii exhausted, his commander eventually told him the only way out was to crawl and pray. “I had to crawl through the dugout where Russians were," he said.

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"Holding the radio in my left hand on my knees, I started crawling. I came across a tripwire with a grenade on it. I could hear the commander on the radio correcting me, but I could not contact him myself.

"The battery was almost dead. The commander shouted at me that I should move. So, finally I got to the Ukrainian positions, ‘Fin, keep moving,’ they kept telling me.”

Serhii is now recovering in hospital and telling his story to CNN, Serhii sees nothing heroic in his actions. “You should see what our guys are doing on the front line," he said. "How they fight, evacuate, and rescue their dudes. Our guys are paying a very high price. They pay with their blood."

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