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A defiant Ukrainian soldier called in an artillery strike on his own position in a moment of self-sacrifice — and survived

A defiant Ukrainian soldier called in an artillery strike on his own position in a moment of self-sacrifice — and survived
A Ukrainian soldier in a trench surrounded by fog and burnt trees
A Ukrainian soldier digs a trench near Bakhmut, Ukraine, in October 2023.Kostya Liberov/Libkos via Getty Images
  • A Ukrainian soldier called in an artillery strike on his own position, CNN reports.

  • The infantry man was left alone in a bunker for two weeks after wounded comrades were evacuated.

  • Eventually he was able to crawl back to the safety of the Ukrainian lines.

A Ukrainian soldier called in an artillery strike on his own position to try and stall a Russian advance, CNN reports.

Alone and wounded, Serhii, whose call sign is "Fin," had Russian troops closing around him. Surrounded and ready to die, he called in artillery strikes on his position, successfully deterring advancing Russian forces.

Serhii repeated the coordinates whenever the enemy closed in, creating a temporary shield thanks to accurate artillery fire.

"I was surrounded by enemies. I whispered the coordinates again on the radio and our artillery fired at them," he told CNN.

A solider with the 80th Air Assault Galician Brigade, Serhii, 36, had returned to Ukraine from a decadelong life in Finland, enlisting soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. His call sign nods to his past life as a handyman in Finland.

Wounded in both legs

On October 27, Serhii and his unit were dispatched on a mission on the eastern front line near Bakhmut, the scene of some of the most bloody fighting of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Serhii, and his comrades, only expected to be in the field for three days. However, they found themselves pinned down by relentless enemy fire for what would become a harrowing two weeks.

The situation became dire when a mortar explosion near Fin's dugout left him wounded in both legs, alongside two other soldiers with broken limbs.

Serhii insisted that an evacuation team prioritize his comrades first, pledging to wait for the next opportunity.

Subsequent attempts to reach him were thwarted by constant Russian bombardment, leading to a further agonizing two-week ordeal of waiting for multiple evacuation teams that never came, repeatedly forced to abort their rescue missions.

The forever battle for Bakhmut

ukraine bakhmut
The 10th Mountain Assault Brigade of Ukraine fire in the Bakhmut District, Donetsk Region on September 16, 2023.Libkos/Getty Images

Alone in his trench, Serhii utilized a drone provided by his commander to receive essentials such as water, painkillers, chocolate bars, and even cigarettes as Russian units came ever closer to his bolt-hole.

A Russian soldier even once entered Serhii's dugout, seemingly oblivious to his Ukrainian identity. Miraculously, the soldier left without harming Serhii, who then received a directive from his commander to crawl through enemy territory and reach safety. Navigating tripwires and grenade threats, Serhii successfully made it to Ukrainian positions.

He is now recovering from his shrapnel wounds in a Ukrainian hospital.

"I can't believe that now I'm in the hospital, not in the trench. I did not think I would survive," he told CNN.

The monthslong battle for Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, was the longest and bloodiest of the war and in recent weeks has seen a renewal of Russian offensive operations in the sector.

Russia has recently dispatched fresh, well-trained troops to Bakhmut, Senior Lieutenant Oleksiy Tarasenko, a deputy commander in Ukraine's 5th Separate Assault Brigade, told Radio Svoboda last week, per The New Voice of Ukraine.

"At the moment, the enemy is attempting to identify the most vulnerable spots in our defense. For two or three weeks now, they have been intensively attacking our units in many sectors," he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider