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Ruslan (David) Serbov

The defender of Azovstal Ruslan (David) Serbov took part in heavy fighting, lost a leg, survived captivity, and on his return home wrote the book "Mariupol. The book of the brave".


Their names are known now not only in Ukraine, but all over the world. Historical books will be written about the feats of Azov soldiers, these events will be studied by military experts. And now it is important for us to thank everyone who gave their health and life for us, to remember and tell the stories of these people.

I flew to Mariupol by helicopter
- We all realised that sooner or later something of this magnitude would happen. It was worth listening only to Putin's interview, so I began to prepare, - Ruslan Serbov admits to journalists of Facts ICTV.

In 2017, he joined the Azov regiment, and in 2022 on the first day became on the defence of the Kiev region.

On 5 April, the fighter David flew to the surrounded Mariupol by helicopter. It was a one-way ticket, however, the man did not doubt his own decision.

That is somewhere around 80 per cent that I will not return. But for me it was an honour. It was a matter of honour. I couldn't sit at home with my brothers, acquaintances, friends dying as heroes.

His wife Lyubov recalls that since 24 February she was afraid that her lover would not get to Mariupol. But she did not dissuade him: who could influence her husband?

At the same time, she admits that getting into Russian captivity was definitely worse than fighting in Mariupol.

The military man himself recalls that at that time there were fierce street battles. The Russians covered themselves with civilians, because they knew that the Ukrainians would not take the same step.

The Russians were destroying residential neighbourhoods, residential houses. They did not look whether there were people or not. I even saw a nine-storey house fold up like a cardboard house. A huge column of dust would rise, and there were 100, 200, or even 300 civilians in that house.

Saving a wounded fellow soldier, he himself was wounded and lost a leg.

He recalls about his wound as follows: his leg was cut off like a sausage with a knife. It happened during the fighting, when he and his fellow soldiers were returning from the hospital, where they had taken a wounded fighter.

- I was running and heard such a whistle, I turned round for a split second and saw an anti-tank missile cutting my leg like a branch.

Like a sausage with a knife, zap, and my leg was gone.

I fell down, the turnstiles flew off somewhere. I screamed: "Shoot me, shoot me!" And I realise that the curtain is closing, like in the cinema. But suddenly a friend appears and says, "Not now," pulls his tourniquet over me, says, "Cling to me!"

They operated on me alive. There were almost no anaesthetic drugs and antibiotics left at the factory. Dressings were done once every eight days. According to Ruslan, people were rotting. And some had parasites in their wounds. There was no food or water.

Captivity and a book on the advice of a psychologist

In such a state he was taken prisoner, where he stayed until 29 April. When exchanged, there was no chance that the man would survive. But David did not give up, underwent rehabilitation and wrote his own book, in which he told about every defender of Mariupol.

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