A young Russian soldier admitted to being a member of a “death squad” that killed three Ukrainians last March by shooting them in the head in the village of Andreyevka, west of Kiev, according to the British newspaper, “The Times”.
The dead were later found by local residents after Russian forces abandoned the village they occupied at the start of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The mayor of the village explained that the three dead were collaborators with the Ukrainian army, as they hid “behind the enemy lines” to provide information about the coordinates of the whereabouts of the Russian forces.
A reporter from the independent Russian online magazine iStories tracked down some of the soldiers who were part of the occupation forces in the town, where a phone was found with the group taking “personal photos”, and the reporter was able to use the photos to find the soldiers’ personal files on social media.
Murder, steal and plunder
The soldier, 21-year-old Daniel Folkin, admitted via video call to the Russian newspaper that he was part of a death squad sent by their commander to punish the men for passing on information.
He added, “Yes.. I admit that crimes were committed in the village of Andreivka, and that we shot civilians, stole their money and confiscated their phones. I also want to say that our leadership does not care about the life and safety of our soldiers.”
Frolkin admitted to killing a man with a bullet in the head, and he was possibly, according to the Russian newspaper, Ruslan Yeremchuk, who died at the age of 47.
Yeremchuk’s body was found after the invading forces withdrew at the beginning of April and in the presence of the Times’ chief photographer, Jack Hill, who, along with the paper’s correspondent, revealed that at least 13 men who had remained in the town during its occupation was killed by the Russian army.
Yeremchuk, Vadim Janyuk (33) and Vitaly Kibokevich (45) were executed on the same day when a neighbor found the bodies of Janiuk and Kibokevich in the basements of the houses.
Jack Hill said Lieutenant Colonel Andre Prokorat ordered the executions, noting that they took the three victims to their homes, one of which was already in ruins.
“I admit… but”
Explaining that it was he who executed Yeremchuk, on the orders of his commander, Frolkin explained: “I took him out of the house and ordered him to continue before he went to his knees, and then I fired one shot into the head. ”
“I killed one person, but I wanted to save as many people as possible,” he said.
The young soldier confirmed that the motive behind killing that man was to avenge Yeremchuk’s role in transferring the coordinates of Russian military sites, adding: “I understand that revenge is a bad thing, but I knew what I was doing, and he is the only person I killed during the seven months I spent in (the operation. special army).
And he added: “But in return I saved the lives of 86 other people,” referring to his fellow soldiers who occupied the village.
Rejection means death.
Frolkin said during the interview that he thought he would be participating in normal military exercises when he was sent to Belarus in January, but learned on February 23 that he would be participating in Greater Ukraine the next day, and said that anyone who thought refusal or withdrawal was threatened.
During the time he was part of the occupation force in the village of Andreivka, Folkin explained that poor discipline was rampant among the soldiers, citing the killing of a corporal while drinking alcohol with another soldier without the know details or background of the incident. .
He explained that the occupation force commander had stolen many of the residents’ belongings, such as refrigerators and other goods, adding: “When our unit returned to Belarus, we were accompanied by two trucks full of looted goods and things.”
Frolkin also spoke of another commander, Colonel Izhtbek Omorbekov, who he said spent most of his time “sitting in the basement of the school” used as headquarters, making up stories around Moscow about the success of the operation to tell
On the other hand, a soldier named Dmitriy Danilov, also 21 years old, said he was engaged in “a continuous search for people who provided coordinates” but denied his involvement in the executions of civilians in the town deny.
He continued, “As far as I know, these people were captured and then handed over to the higher authorities…and then they were returned through a prisoner of war exchange.”
But he admitted that “99 percent” of what was said about the Russians’ “special military operation” was pure lies.
Frolkin also denied the existence of executions in the first interview, but in the second interview with the Russian newspaper he reaffirmed what happened and said that he wanted to confess because his leaders “do not consider Russian soldiers as people with rights. “
He also said that his unit is about to return to the front line again, this time to Kherson in the south, where a limited Ukrainian counteroffensive is underway.
He expressed the hope that his confession would prevent his unit from going to Kherson, saying, “It is better to destroy the life of one person (meaning himself) than to destroy the lives of 200-300 people. “
He continued, “I know all the young men. They are good people, and I don’t want them to be destroyed, they are my colleagues in the army.”
He concluded by saying that he understood the risks of admitting what had happened. “I just want to admit everything and explain to people what’s going on,” he said. “I think it would have been better if this war had not broken out at all.”