“I was among those on front line during Russia’s invasion in Ukraine”
Caliber.Az interview with Azerbaijani officer of Ukrainian Armed Forces
INTERVIEWS 26 May 2022 - 15:06
People of different nationalities living in Ukraine and considering this country their homeland are fighting against the Russian aggressors as part of the Ukrainian army. There are many Azerbaijanis among them.
Caliber.Az had an interview with one of them, Senior Lieutenant of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ruslan Aliyev.
Ruslan Aliyev was born in Ukraine’s Kyiv city in 1988. His father is Azerbaijani while mother is Ukrainian. Aliyev lived in Azerbaijan in early 1990s.
“When I was a child, I witnessed the Armenian aggression towards Azerbaijan. My family moved to Ukraine in 1994. My father is from Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district and of course, I have many relatives from Karabakh region. We often talk over phone and send each other letters. I often talked to relatives during the 44-day Armenia-Azerbaijan Karabakh war. When Russian aggression against Ukraine started, my relatives got in touch with me. They worry about me,” he said.
Aliyev noted that despite mainly living in Ukraine, he still considers himself an Azerbaijani.
“I have been serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2016. I volunteered for the army. The Rapid Reaction Brigade was established as part of the National Guard of Ukraine in late 2015. I was recruited for this team in 2016. There was a very tough selection for three days, which I could hardly get through. Then there was intensive training. I was intensively training for almost half a year. We were trained by international instructors. The Rapid Reaction Brigade has been established according to the NATO model,” he said.
Our compatriot added that the Rapid Reaction Brigade is the most combat-ready brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“I have been taking part in hostilities since 2016. Our brigade is constantly undergoing combat training. I served as the second lieutenant and was assigned to command a platoon in 2018. I was awarded the medal "For participation in the anti-terrorist operation" in 2020. My platoon went on rotation to eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. I was among the first Ukrainian servicemen who faced a full-scale war that day. This occurred in Trokhizbenka village of Luhansk region. The further hostilities were observed in Severodonetsk and Rubizhne cities,” Aliyev said.
“A tank fired during the battle in Rubizhne city. I got injured on March 24, 2022 a month after the Russian invasion. I had a severe concussion and was hospitalized in Vinnytsia city. The representatives of the local Azerbaijani diaspora came to the hospital to see me. I have been recently awarded with another medal - "For military service to Ukraine"," he said.
Aliyev noted that many Azerbaijanis are fighting in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“I met many Azerbaijanis during my military service. Besides me, there is one more Azerbaijani in my brigade.
I also met Armenians. There are two Armenians in my brigade. We have no disagreements with them regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan Karabakh conflict. Moreover, a Russian by nationality served in my brigade in 2017. He was a citizen of Russia and served in law enforcement agencies. He moved to Ukraine for political reasons and assumed local citizenship. Many guys from Luhansk and Donetsk regions serve in my brigade. They did not accept the separatist regime imposed there in 2014 and began to fight on Ukraine’s side,” he said.
Aliyev added that Ukraine was very happy that Azerbaijan was able to return its occupied lands in 2020.
“Ukraine understands that Russia helped Armenia in the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The same situation is observed in Donbas region today,” he said.
Our compatriot is still undergoing treatment, as he had a severe concussion, however, he hopes that he will be able to defend Ukraine again soon.
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