Ruslan Pustovoit : Ukrainian War Hero

Ruslan Pustovoit has been called a “living legend” of the Russian-Ukrainian war. He was wounded twice but stood up again.

“I protect my home, my children, my wife – these come first of all. Secondly, I defend our homeland. There should be no strangers. People who came to us with weapons will die from their weapons,” Pustovoit said.

In 2014, Pustovoit went to the front line as a volunteer. He served in the Savur-Mohyla region and near Ilovaisk, defended Mariupol and fought in Shyrokyne. His callsign is “Spider.” Pustovoit developed and conducted several unique special operation missions. During one of them, eight militants were detained. At the time, the number of Russian backed militants significantly exceeded the number of Ukrainian intelligence officers.

“They were killed in an unequal battle. We won, and claimed all the equipment,” Pustovoit said.

Pustovoit recalls a special operations mission in the occupied village of Sakhanka in June 2016. Then, along with his group, they found an enemy stronghold. The occupiers tried to encircle the Ukrainian military. Pustovoit advanced first and was ambushed, but did not lose control of the situation.

“I understood this could be the end. It flashed in my head whom I could catch first. And then I started screaming, asking for the squad leader. One of them turned out to be a Russian. He came up to me and almost saluted, and then they rested their weapons,” Pustovoit said.

Another four intelligence officers from Pustovoit’s group arrived immediately. A fight broke out. Three out of the 11 Russian-backed militants were killed. The rest were detained and disarmed. Pustovoit’s group left the battle with no losses. The militants were transferred to Ukrainian Security Services. Ruslan Pustovoit was awarded the “Order of Courage”

Fellow soldiers talk about Pustovoit in an understated military manner, but behind each of their words, there is respect and confidence in their commander.

“He is a true commander. Sensitive and proper. He never leaves his troops in trouble. He is a very strong-willed man,” a soldier named Nikolai said.

“He is a real hero of our time. There are not very many of them, but they exist. They are among us, they live among us,” a soldier named Volodymyr said.

Pustovoit was wounded twice. While patrolling the area between Vodiane and Shyrokyne in November 2016, Pustovoit’s group was ambushed. One soldier was killed, and another one carried the wounded commander on his back. Despite the losses, the intelligence officers managed to transmit the coordinates of the militants over their radio.

“First, I dream for the war to come to an end, our nation to stop dying for us, those young soldiers who should raise children, live here, and build their state. It’s a great sorrow for our people,” Pustovoit said.

Now, Pustovoit is back in service. He is on the front line. Ruslan knows that he defends the most precious things to him: his country, his city, and his family. His family – two children and his wife, are waiting for him at home.