Recently the members of the Dnipro Battalion captured seven men who reportedly were aiding terrorists. The men were caught in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone near Debaltsevo. Among them was Nikolay Popov, a citizen of Russia.
His captors brought him to Dnipropetrovsk and there released him into the custody of his mother. Popov, an industrial alpinist, pottery and rowing enthusiast from Irkutsk, has fallen victim to Russian propaganda machine.
He had sincerely believed that fascists threatened the lives of common people of the Donbas, and this belief led him to enlist with Russian militants to ‘protect’ the victims of imaginary fascists.
To enlist he went to Voronezh, and from there he and other Russians like him entered Ukraine illegally, without passing through border control checkpoints. After his capture and investigation he was found not guilty of killings and released.
Popov did not tell his family where he was going. According to TSN news agency, his mother reported him missing and had been trying to locate him. She learned of his whereabouts when he called her from Dnipropetrovsk and asked her for money to return home.
“I received a big lesson in kindness and humanity,” Popov said.Translated by Anna Palagina, edited by Mat Babiak