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Who Is The Russian Soldier Captured in the Eastern Ukraine
29 June, 2017

The Ukrainian Armed Forces recently neutralized a sabotage-reconnaissance group and captured four people, one of whom was a resident of the Altai region of Russia. He was a member of the “4th separate motorized brigade of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic." However, according to his social media profiles, he served in the city of Bataysk, in the Rostov region. After military service, he signed a new contract on March 17, 2017 and went to the occupied area of the Luhansk region.

His name is Viktor Ageev.

However, the Russian Ministry of Defence denies this contract soldier’s involvement in their military.

With the help of information from open sources, Hromadske has investigated how this soldier came from the Russian region of Altai to the Ukrainian village of Zholobok.

Who is Viktor Ageev?

Viktor Ageev, who is now 22 years old, grew up in the village of Parfonovo in the Altai region of the Russian Federation, not far from the Kazakh border.

Photo: Ageev's profile on social media

After school, he graduated from Altai state college having specialized in gas welding, and then went to serve in the army.

During his time in military service in 2015, Viktor Ageev went to the city of Novocherkassk in the Rostov region, where he served in military unit 6542 in the communications regiment.

After finishing military service, he went home to Altai where he arrived on 12 May 2016. However, at the start of March 2017, he signed a contract and went to serve in the reconnaissance group at the base of the 22nd special forces brigade in Bataysk, a city in the Rostov region of Russia.   

Photo: Ageev's profile on social media

For a while he would call his mother but on 30 May, the calls stopped. This is the same date he last logged on to his social media profile on the Russian site Odnoklassniki, almost two months ago.

How did he appear in the so-called “LPR” military groupings?

 

In her comments to the BBC, the mother of the Russian soldier, Svetlana Ageeva, explained that she suspected that her son had gone to fight in Ukraine.

In response to the question of whether her son talked about carrying out military missions in Ukraine, Svetlana Ageeva told BBC: “He implied it. But I was overwhelmed. It seemed that once he was near the border, everything was bad. He said: we learn and learn, work and work.”

Photo: Ageev's profile on social media

Those who served with Viktor Ageev also knew that he was in Ukraine. In his letters he said, “Yes, I’m in Ukraine. They pay enough.”

In April, Viktor Ageev went to the “4th motorised brigade of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic.” This group is located in the occupied city of Krasnyi Luch in the Luhansk region.

The unit was created from a number of battallions, including the so-called "Batman," "Rusich sabotage-reconnaissance group," "Odesa," "Vityaz," and "Lyeshyy" batallions, amongst others. The leader of the so-called "Luhansk People’s Republic,’" Igor Plotnitsky, wanted to bring all the separate battalions under his control. So, they killed everybody who refused to join the “people’s militsiya” (police). For example, Oleksiy Byednov, who was the head of the “Batman” rapid action team, was killed on January 1, 2015. Now the brigade consists of three motor rifle battalions, a tank battalion, brigade artillery group and reconnaissance officers. It is now the second battle-ready brigade in so-called “LPR” militants.

So he went from Krasnyi Luch to the contact line near the village of Zholobok (also in Luhansk region) to carry out “a task.”

From there he posted several photos in April, where he was holding a sniper rifle and a Russian intelligence flag. However, at that time he was already wearing a “LPR” uniform.

What happened to him and other militants?

As a result of a fight near Zholobok,  in the Luhansk region, several militants of the so-called republic from Ageev’s unit were killed. A Russian captain, Oleksandr Sherbak, appeared to be the head of the unit.

This is according to the colonel of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine), Vladyslav Klochkov.

Ageev, along with a machine gunner, a combat engineer and a sniper were taken prisoner.

Right after that, the so-called spokesperson for the “LPR milityiya" (police) Andriy Marochko made a statement calling Ageev and three other prisoners “cadets of the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs (Ukraine).” When Ageev’s military registration card, which confirmed his Russian affiliation, went public, the so-callled “LPR” made a new statement.

Photo: 93rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine)

“Ukrainian soldiers circumvented and killed four people, who were delivering  groceries. They also kidnapped four other people. Now they are pressuring them to confess that they are Russian soldiers,” claimed Marochko.

He also stated that none of the militants are Russian citizens, and the documents “are counterfeit.”

According to the spokesperson for 93rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine), which took part in the operation, three of the four captured were locals.

“The most interesting person is Ageev, he’s from Altai Krai, the others are locals. They had documents: passports and tickets. I don’t know where are they now - apparently in Kyiv,” he told Hromadske.

“The case will be opened. We’ve done our job, we don’t know the rest. We handed the prisoners over to SBU and Military Prosecutor’s Office, we have drawn up reports,” he added.

Photo: Ageev's profile on social media

According to him, they didn’t take the bodies of those killed, but left them there. “We didn’t take the dead bodies from the place where we captured those four. We left their bodies there,” Sytnyk said.

The militants of the so-called republic also published photos of killed members of Ageev’s unit and stated that “they were tortured.”

At the same time, the spokesperson for 93rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine) disproved this information.

“I saw those photos. They could be stab wounds, but if they were inflicted on a living person, there would be much more blood. And also, you saw that people were wearing bulletproof vests, they had weapon - an automatic weapon, recoilless gun - how could somebody have touched them alive? Do you really think they would have let Ukrainian soldiers near them? Why did they have hematomas? The bullets hit their bulletproof vests, so the protection plates would have left the hematomas,” he told Hromadske.

The weapon prisoners had. Photo: 93rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine)

After Ageev’s mother received this information, she appealed to the military base, but they did not comment.

And, on June 28, the Russian Ministry of Defense denied Ageev’s affiliation with the Russian army.

The Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia called the statement of Russian Ministry of Defense “a dirty trick.”

“The meanest thing Russia’s doing now via its Ministry of Defense is rejecting its own soldiers. We’ve been working for 29 years, but we have never experienced such behaviour during any of the wars - in Afghanistan or in the former Soviet Union. Now it happens quite often,” the head of the Committees, Valentyna Melnykova, told news agency Echo of Moscow.

Hromadske appealed to Security Service to Ukraine (SBU) for information regarding Ageev. The spokeswoman of the SBU, Olena Giltyanska, told Hromadske to talk to an advisor to the SBU chief, Yuriy Tandit. However, he claimed that he couldn't comment on this information.

\by Evhen Spirin, Serhiy Pyvovarov

\translated by Liuda Kornievych, Sofia Fedeczko