Mangled metal, charred debris and shattered glass cover the floor as a Ukrainian reconnaissance unit storms a Russian command center on the outskirts of the recently liberated city of Kherson.
“Come on over here,” one of the Ukrainian troops suddenly shouts. “Get the stretcher and first aid kit over here.”
Moments later, a Russian soldier emerges from a bunker, wounded in the back of his legs. He is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers who place him face down on the floor and apply first aid.
“We got pinned down over here and everybody ran,” he tells the Ukrainian soldiers. “I fell down and lay there till evening. They came and took my captain and that was it. They said they’d come back for me but nobody came.”
The exchange was recorded by the reconnaissance team and shared with CNN. It offers a valuable insight into the grueling battle for the key southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which culminated in a Russian withdrawal from a swathe of land on the west bank of the Dnipro river earlier this month, a major setback for the Kremlin’s war.
The Ukrainian unit says the Russian soldier was taken away to safety and his wounds tended to. But many of those sent here by the Kremlin have faced a very different outcome.
“They had the big losses here,” the head of the reconnaissance unit Andrii Pidlisnyi tells CNN, reviewing this with some of the other footage he and his unit have collected over the past few months.
The 28-year-old captain, whose call sign is ‘Sneaky,’ has been living up to his name around Russian positions.