Nikita Cherprin, a former soldier from the city of Yakutsk, Russia. He served in the “64. Separate Guard Motorized Rifle Brigade” – Russia’s most notorious military unit now accused of war crimes in Bucha, Borodyanka and other towns and villages north of Kyiv.
Now the former soldier is determined to talk about the events he witnessed in Ukraine.
Chyprin says he still remembers fellow Russian soldiers who fled after they raped two Ukrainian women during their deployment northwest of Kyiv in March.
In a video interview with CNNOpens.
– I saw them running. They raped a mother and her daughter. Their leaders shrugged when they learned of the rapes. They were never punished for their crimes. They were never imprisoned.
Leaving the Russian army in September, Nikita fled to Europe through Belarus and Kazakhstan.
In a video interview with CNNpublished in the morning hours on Wednesday, talks about the events he says he witnessed during his tenure.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry designated soldiers from the Khyberin Brigade as war criminals in April. After mass graves with dead civilians It was discovered after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv region.
Shchebrin served under Iztbek Omurbekov, the commanding officer of the 64th Brigade.
Omurbekov, known as the “Butcher of Butcha”, is under sanctions from the European Union and the United Kingdom.
The United States sanctioned the entire brigade.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the mass killings. They claim that these are unsubstantiated claims, and insist that the photographs of civilian corpses are fake.
Willing to testify
Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the military unit the title of honor, praising it for its “heroism and daring actions”. It was a move that sparked outrage around the world.
Chyprin tells CNN he hasn’t seen any of the supposed heroics, but on the other hand, far too many crimes.
– I am ready to testify against my unit in an international criminal court. The unit had a direct order to assassinate everyone who shared information about our positions, whether they were military or civilian. If someone has a phone, we are allowed to shoot them. The members of my brigade were undoubtedly capable of taking the lives of unarmed civilians.
Chyprin stated that the soldiers in his unit were not fully prepared for combat.
He claims that the training the unit received consisted of commanders being given a gun, a target, and 5,000 bullets.
– There was no training. We were told to shoot to escape. The lack of necessary training became apparent when we were in Ukraine. The same guys who bragged about being “Rambo” before their publication came back devastated. They saw the dead bodies and the killing of their fellow soldiers, they saw the defeat and knew they couldn’t escape. If we say we do not want war, we are told that there will be dire consequences for us and our families.
The unit withdrew from the area northwest of Kyiv at the end of March after the failure of the offensive there. Chibrin and the unit returned to Belarus.
He was then forced to return to Ukraine in May, whence he was then sent to the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, and spent time in the woods around Izyum.
This is when he finally found an opportunity to escape.
He invisibly jumped onto a truck heading to Russia
Although the journey was a perilous kind, he made it back to his home country, where he spent nearly a month in the hospital with back injuries.
Then he was asked to return to the war, but Chyprin refused. His friends and family helped him flee to his current location in Europe, and he was unmistakable in his rhetoric
“I will never return to Russia.”
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”