“He took position behind a large concrete wall that surrounds the airport. The Russians started firing directly at them from sniper positions. Our job was to shoot down enemy aircraft that was trying to land.
My name is Dmytro, codenamed Zeus, and I’m a Ukrainian Air Assault trooper. In the first days of the war, we landed near the Hostomel Airport near Kiev. This is because the Russians took over that airport. We landed three kilometers from the airport, and since we saw the fighting, we just ran towards the battle. The airport was smoking from the artillery fire from our army, so we ran through the woods until we got there.
Already there was our Ukrainian 80th Brigade and our Special Operation Forces, which is similar to the American Navy Seals.
We took position behind a large concrete wall that surrounds the airport.
The group commander ordered the first squad to go over the wall and start penetrating the airfield. While that was happening, our 80th Brigade was to fire at the Russians and take return fire from the enemy so our squad wouldn’t be noticed.
It didn’t work well because as soon as our squad started jumping over the wall, the Russians started firing directly at them from sniper positions. Three men from our team were wounded immediately.
For us, this was the first battle of the war. We realized that we couldn’t go over the wall to get our wounded, so we started digging under the wall. We went through that hole and got the soldiers that were unconscious. The ones that weren’t, we unfortunately had to leave behind. One of the soldiers that was unconscious came awake later. When the Russians came by to check things out, he pretended to be dead, and they just passed him by. Later, he climbed the wall and walked to our local hospital. He’s fine now.
We stayed hunkered down the rest of that night until dawn. The next morning, we started our counter-attack. Myself, Fox, and two other guys jumped the wall and headed towards the runway for cover near a building. Our job was to shoot down enemy aircraft that was trying to land. I covered Fox while he used a MANPAD to shoot down a Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter. Another Russian Ka-52 landed to rescue the downed pilot, while the other helicopters fired at us with their 30-millimeter cannons. We took cover inside the building.
The helicopters hovered over this building waiting for us to try to escape. We set up a circular defense waiting for Russian infantry to advance, but the attack never came, and the helicopters eventually left. We decided to stay in that building for cover, and my commander told me to do spotting for the artillery. In my mind, I divided the airstrip into a grid and gave the coordinates of whatever square a Ka-52 was in, and our shells would be fired, and they would hit the Ka-52s. There was so much smoke and fog that it was tough to confirm exactly what was hit.
Later that day, a convoy of Russian vehicles started arriving at the airfield. They set fire to the grass and set off smoke bombs to conceal themselves. Eventually, about 400 units of equipment were on the field, including tanks, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, and a bunch of supply trucks. I called in artillery fire on the positions of about five Russian pieces of equipment, and they were destroyed.
Our group was running out of water and food, so we pulled back. Locals would come and feed us and give us water, then we would go back to that position and call in more artillery strikes. This went on for about two weeks, just the four of us, me, Zeus, Ant, Skull, and Coach. Later, our commander pulled us out, and then we went to Bucha.”