“The Spider” covered almost a kilometer of land on wounded legs
Master of sports in international kickboxing class, former paratrooper-reconnaissance man Ruslan Pustovoit (call signal “Spider”) worked as a trainer before the war. With the onset of the events in Donbas, he formed the “Patriot” squad from a group of volunteers and went to the East of the country. Currently, the Knight of two Military Orders and the non-governmental order “Hero of Ukraine” warrant officer Pustovoit is the commander of a reconnaissance platoon of one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
June 2016. Mariupol direction. On the eve of the mission “the Spider” had a bad premonition. Two years of war had taught him not to dismiss such disquieting “calls” of the subconscious. He knew that an intelligence officer who does not trust his own intuition and hunch is a doomed man. Early in the morning Ruslan sat down to analyze the available information once more.
Just the day before Pustovoit had been ordered to destroy an adversary checkpoint, which was called “Zuhvalyi” (Daring) not without a cause. Russian occupants often freely approached the neutral zone and attacked by fire from minimal distances. The checkpoint was in a favorable location and well covered by artillery.
Ruslan pondered about what was troubling him and suddenly realized: in recent days the nature of enemy actions had somewhat changed. For no apparent reason, there was a decline in adversary activity. The “Daring” seemed to be inadvertently putting itself at risk, and this meant that the assault group would probably walk into a trap.
The war had taught “the Spider” another thing - to always expect the worst case scenario. Often the most elaborate actions resulted in a defeat either because of underestimating the enemy, or overestimating personal forces. Therefore, prior to leading the fighters to destroy the “Daring”, Ruslan decided to conduct another field exploration. Several hours before the start of the assault, he and four experienced sworn brothers set out for the thicket.
According to “the Spider’s” plan he walked a short distance in front of his comrades, as bait, dressed in the uniform of the enemy. His combat brothers provided cover and were to act depending on the situation.
At one point, there was an anticipated soft call behind his back and Ruslan’s head bumped up against a machine gun. The reconnaissance-man slowly turned and saw Russian occupants gathering around him. Further events developed very rapidly.
Pustovoit loudly snapped at the one standing the closest: “You, dog, who are you pointing the machine gun at?! Who is in charge? Get the commander here quickly!” “I am the commander,”- was the reply. “Officer? Come over here!”, - Ruslan continued to press further and gave the guy a tongue-lashing.
The young officer, still confused, tried to come up with excuses while the Ukrainian reconnaissance man waited for back-up. His comrade brothers did not linger - they arose in front of their enemy as if from underneath the earth: in our uniform, with weapons. Three Russian occupants grabbed their machine guns and Ruslan was left with no other choice but to shoot the officer while his men dealt with two others. The reconnaissance men forced the remaining eight occupants to lie on the ground and quickly bound them with tape.
Before they could come to their senses “the Spider” began to question the prisoners, hot on the trail. The eight unanimously claimed that this secret post, under the name “Bilka” (Squirrel), is commanded by a sergeant and the officer who was shot dead by Ruslan came here to supervise their activity.
At that moment, the commander’s phone rang. “The Spider” ordered him to connect and activate the loudspeaker. “Is there fire at your location “Bilka”?” – “No” – “Don’t lie to me, I know what I heard.”
Immediately after this brief exchange the following message could be heard on the airwaves of Russian invaders: “Boys! Direct all fire at “Bilka”! “Ukrops” are there!”
As soon as the reconnaissance men took their captives 300 meters away from the location, the secret post was covered with mortar fire. As it turned out, there were a few similar secret posts in the vicinity of the “Daring” check post. According to the enemy's plan, they were to take our assault troops or reconnaissance groups into surroundings and bring artillery fire down on them. Each secret post was controlled by Russian active officers. Two of them were among those who had been detained by “the Spider”.
November 2016. Mariupol direction. Ruslan had just returned to his unit after being wounding. He was appointed as commander of a reconnaissance platoon. Most of his subordinates had been fighting with him for over a year, all of them were there for a reason. Their professionalism and high morale were worth their weight in gold. As they say, the Russians forced us to fight, but we will break their habit of invading our land with weapons.
Between Shyrokyno and Sahanka “the Spider” along with the sapper (call signal) “Fighter” and another soldier fell into ambush.
On their way out of the forest belt Ruslan noticed an anti-personnel mine in the grass. He barely managed to rise up a bit and see that a control cable stretched from it just when they were covered with machine gun fire from a distance of 20 meters. The sapper, having received a slight injury, rolled over to the forest belt, the second reconnaissance man was killed on the spot. At that moment the mine exploded.
Bullets tore Pustovoit’s left arm and both legs, his clothes caught on fire. He fell on his back and opened fire in retaliation with one hand. Then, on his elbows he crawled away from the line of fire and took out a grenade: he had no more bullets...
But help was on the way - the wounded sapper came out of the bushes. He applied a tourniquet on the commander and, supporting one another, they ran towards their men.
Later in the hospital, “the Spider” was told that he had run on broken legs. In total, doctors removed 63 fragments from his body...