Alexander Kislyak from Territorial Defense Forces has been serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. In March 2014, during the first wave of mobilization, he volunteered along with other patriots and came to his local military commissariat (now the TCk and SP). Since then, he has held various positions in several military units, gradually mastering military affairs.
Russians were very annoyed that their 'elite forces' couldn't advance through a group of mobilized territorial defenders. So, they spared no ammunition or their own people. You know, we sometimes wondered ourselves how we managed to hold the defense and the fighting spirit so high. Even our wounded warriors never lost optimism."
"I not only thought about driving the Russians out of Ukrainian land but also wanted changes to happen in our army. So, I started with myself. Yes, I gained skills in handling various types of weapons, learned tactical techniques, the specifics of engineering and sapper work, and so on. I found it interesting and necessary because I never limited myself to just my official duties," he says.
About the defense of Kharkiv in February-March 2022, he recalls:
"Our consolidated unit simply got out of the buses and headed to the infantry. Ukrainian soldiers and law enforcement officers, who were outnumbered by the occupiers, didn't let the Russians break through to the regional center. Although the infantry had only two tanks and several grenade launchers, they skillfully destroyed the enemy's armored vehicles. We were assigned a defense area, and we positioned ourselves in one of the supermarkets. For over three weeks, we defended our hometown. Later, I spent a month and a half near Bakhmut. But the suburbs of Kharkiv were much tougher."
The defender remembers that he worked there as a combat medic, a shooter, a sniper, and a grenadier.
"Everyone did what they were good at. For example, it turned out that I was a good shot with an RPG-7 and a sniper rifle. It was physically and morally challenging. For example, for the first time after February 27, I took off my boots only on March 4, and my feet were covered in blisters. But we somehow didn't notice the fatigue because we were doing our job, and, I must say, quite successfully."