Censor.NET managed to find one of the Ukrainian military who directly participated in the capturing of the Russians.
Here is sergeant of the 51st mechanized brigade Volodymyr Kozak:
"I was commander of a reconnaissance squad within the 3rd tactic battalion group of the 51st brigade. All our soldiers were drafted; we had maybe just a few permanent officers in the battalion. My IFV had been earlier hit in the engagement near Starobesheve. So being without my vehicle, I was ordered together with a group of soldiers to guard a supply base of our tactical battalion group in Dzerkalne village. We received two IFVs but without ammunition. On Aug. 24 at noon our base was covered by Russian howitzers fire - an ammunition warehouse exploded. The shelling continued in the vicinity as well.
"At 5 p.m. I took my soldiers to a secret post in a forest near the village. Soon we noticed 10 soldiers approaching us along the road from Kuteinykove. They were like " calves at a pasture." They were not in battle formation, and were not ready for an engagement.
" We captured them unopposed. They were shocked with what was going on. We spoke Russian with them. They said they were Russian soldiers from the 98th airborne division. They were sent for maneuvers in the Rostov region. In the night of Aug. 24 they crossed the Ukrainian border. In the morning their unit was shelled in a forest 3 km from Kuteinykove. An airborne combat vehicle had been destroyed, one of the soldiers received light wounds. Two of their comrades were killed. Having lost the equipment and communication support, the paratroopers went to search for medical aid. They were shocked by the fact of being in Ukraine and with the war that was happening here.
"They did not expect to meet us and surrendered unopposed.
"Information on the event was immediately passed to the command. So everybody knew it. The same evening we transferred the captives to the headquarters - they were picked up by an officer and soldiers from the 51st brigade of another battalion. We thought we would be reinforced as well, for we had no cover. The rest of the troops had retreated. But the captives were taken away, while we had to remain at the position - there was no order to retreat. Dzerkalne was not prepared for defense. It was the rear target. Non-fighting units of combat support equipment company and communication personnel were stationed there. The officer assigned to the base was freshly converted from backup folks. In the morning of Aug. 25 Dzerkalne was attacked by Russian unit with tanks, airborne combat vehicles, and Nona SPGs. Our unit had no forces and means to repulse the attack by the Russian tactic battalion group. We were captured prisoners.
"Russian officers were asking where captive paratroopers went, for they had been searching for them. But we did it all fast for we understood they would be searched for.
"I spent 17 days in captivity in Snizhne. After that I was transferred to the Ukrainian side."
Volodymyr Kozak's testimony is all the more important because the date of the Russian's capture has become a subject to manipulations. The General Staff announced that information of their capture was received on Aug. 25. It was said in order to justify absence of any activities on the part of the General Staff leadership and absence of the ATO commander, Chief of General Staff Viktor Muzhenko at the command center. Muzhenko flew to Kyiv to receive his Colonel General shoulder straps, and while he was shining near the president, telling stories of stability and total control, while he was celebrating his decoration on Aug. 24 and 25 in Kyiv, his soldiers were conducting tasks amidst the Russian troops' massive superiority at the southern front line, without the commander's orders.
Yurii Butusov, Censor. NET