The only Pole who fought in the Azovstal steel plant provided his account of the fighting, Russian captivity, and the harsh conditions during the siege of Mariupol.
In a sign of how desperate the situation became in the besieged steelworks plant as food became scarcer by the day, he told Polish news outlet Onet that “we ate amputated legs and arms.”
Krzysztof was a sniper in the Azov battalion. He was asked about his efficiency and number of killed Russians.
“I kept track up to a hundred of them, at hundred plus, I stopped counting,” he said.
The Pole was severely wounded on April 20.
“They dropped a mine from a helicopter that fell 20 centimeters from my leg. I got hit by the full force of the blast. I was heavily wounded. I had two legs ripped apart, a broken spine, and damaged hands. The doctors said that ‘one more minute or one and a half,’ and I would have bled out. I lost two and a half liters of blood. The doctors wanted to amputate my legs, but by some miracle they left them whole,” he said.
The man provided his account of the harsh conditions during the siege of Azovstal and the food and water scarcity.
“We gave the good food and drink to civilians and children and ate spoiled meat and groat. In the last week, we ate amputated legs and arms,” he stated.
On May 16, Krzysztof and other members of the Azov battalion, which have been deemed national heroes in Ukraine, were surrounded by the Russians.
“In the beginning, all feared us, civilians and the soldiers. They said that it is not us who are captured by them, but them who were captured by us. They also said that we were not needed by Ukraine, that they would shoot us, so that we join their side. None of the Azov battalion agreed to this,” he said.
The Pole said that after the rehabilitation he plans to return to the Azov battalion.
“It is good to kill those Russians,” he said.
In May, the defenders of Mariupol who were engaged in heavy fighting for almost three months, surrendered to the Russians after the command decided that “the life of the soldiers must be preserved.”
According to the Ukrainian side, 2,500 people were captured, including soldiers from the Azov battalion, 36th Separate Marine Brigade and other units.
In June, the Ukrainian intelligence reported about “the largest to date” prisoner exchange, in which 144 Ukrainian soldiers returned home, including 95 defenders of Azovstal from different formations. There were 43 soldiers of Azov battalion among them. Smaller exchanges were also reported multiple times since then.