Sapozhnikov is the head of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Monarchist Party of Russia. In October 2014 he decided to go to the Eastern Ukraine - in his own words, to "protect the Russian people." According to the Russian militant, he commanded the "special forces branch of the "DPR" (he is currently on leave in his home in St. Petersburg) and participated in the battles for the Donetsk airport and Debaltseve.
"Let me tell you a little secret. Take, for example, Debaltseve. In early February we arrived there, and were based in Vuhlehirsk, used heavy vehicles to move out to our positions. We were paving the road to Lohvynove. But we were in a ring. We had a lot of Ukrainian military opposing us. But in the end we broke through, took this "bottle-neck" in Lohvynove because our tanks came to assist us within 3-5 days. This was the Russian army, the Buryats. Thanks to them, thanks to this heavy equipment we took Debaltseve," the Russian militant said.
"Tanks and Russian units came in from the 'LPR' side... But I guess it's no longer a secret, it's all already recognized, and the Russians acknowledge it. I see that there is a lot of information on the Internet: it is recognized that the Russians serve there and there are many units. That is, in principle, I am not telling you any secret information. Everybody knows this. (After returning to St. Petersburg, Dmitriy was very surprised as to the lack of information on the participation of Russian troops in battles in Eastern Ukraine among the locals - ed .)," Sapozhnikov said.
According to him, the help of the Russian military to the terrorists during such operations as in Debaltseve was basically crucial.
"Of course. Russian generals, Russian colonels. They decided everything ... I think there is a secret agreement," the mercenary confessed.
Talking about how often the militias have to coordinate their actions with regular Russian units and Russian command Sapozhnikov said: "Of course, all operations, especially such large-scale ones as entrapments, are run by the Russian military, the Russian generals. They make plans together with our commanders . I often visited the headquarters, came there, reported information. And the coordination is done quite simply. They all come up [with plans] together, create together, and we carry it out."
Sapozhnikov refused to name those who led the Debaltseve operation on the part of the Russian army. "I think it will cause a racquet in Russia, there is no sense in it," he said.
Responding to journalists' question that Russia still refuses to admit that its military personnel is involved in the battles in the Donbas, Sapozhnikov said: "Yes. But I think it will be, as in the story with Crimea. Initially, everyone denied that the Russian military participated in the annexation of Crimea. And now, I do not see that anymore. A documentary came out: Putin's admission about Crimea, how he saved Yanukovych. The same thing will happen here, I think."
Sapozhnikov also gave the details regarding the Buryat unit of the Russian military, which was deployed at Debaltseve. "Near Debaltseve there was a Buryat unit, there were only Buryats in it. They said that they all knew where they were going, but the official version was: "We're going to exercises." They said that they were transported in train cars by night so that no one could see anything."