Maksym “Condor” is from Vinnytsia region, he is 30 years old and the commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the 59th Separate Motorised Infantry Brigade. The man has been at war for 7 years and has risen from a soldier to a commander, although he had no plans to link his life to the army.

The journalists of Slidstvo.Info met with “Condor” near Avdiivka, where his unit has been conducting defence for a year, and talked about the intensity of Russian attacks, Russia’s goals in this area and the lack of people in his unit. The video has English subtitles.


The 59th Separate Motorised Infantry Brigade is defending the village of Pervomaiske, southwest of the already occupied Avdiivka. The Russians tried to advance in this direction even before the Defence Forces withdrew from the town, and after that they began daily assaults on the village to move further towards Karlivka.

Maksym “Condor”

It’s been a month of active assaults by the Russians here. Why is Pervomaiske so important to them?

There are no quiet, calm days here. The Russians are constantly attacking, attacking, attacking. Pervomaiske was quite important for Avdiivka. It is important that the enemy did not manage to break through the defence line from this side, from the south. They came from the north, from Krasnohorivka. That is because Pervomaiske was holding. Its retention did not allow the enemy to bring convoys of equipment through Pisky. And as long as we hold Pervomaiske with a brigade, the enemy units could not and cannot reach the front line, because all logistics go through Pisky, and we controlled this village and, in principle, still do. 

But did the situation change after the Defence Forces withdrew from Avdiivka?

Yes, it has changed significantly. Firstly, when the breakthrough to Avdiivka took place, the enemy started to act more actively here, putting pressure to pull our reserves away. And when Avdiivka was captured, the Russians moved their reserves from there and began to advance more actively towards Pervomaiske. In addition, there were many more aircraft. The KABs (a kind of precision-guided munition — transl.) that were supposed to be targeting Avdiivka are now targeting Pervomaiske, Karlivka, Netaylove and nearby settlements. During the day, 3-5 KABs arrive at Pervomaiske. There is practically no village left there, but they keep hitting it, hitting it, hitting it. So the situation has become much more complicated. For the last month, there have been assaults every day with a lot of equipment and manpower. In just one month, the enemy lost 25 infantry fighting vehicles here. And probably about two infantry battalions. So far, it does not feel like they have lost anything.

Maksym “Condor”

What are the Russians’ tactics here, apart from the fact that they are using the KABs even more intensively? 

Every day, there is a lot of artillery that detects our positions. If they can’t take a position, if the position is too much of a problem for them, they spend a week just levelling it to the ground. 150 shells of various calibres, drops, kamikaze drones, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, everything works on one position. They work, work, work, until they level it to the ground. Then they start working on another position. And so on, day in and day out. 

And lately, they are not even storming our positions (in the village), they are trying to simply bypass them. They enter any building, sit down, gain a foothold due to their numbers, and so fill the houses and basements — everything where they can hide.


Is that why Ukrainian positions and Russian are actually staggered in part of the village – Russians are in one house, and Ukrainian fighters are in another? 

There are several houses where they have entered. Of course, we know where they are, we are constantly targeting them. But they run from one house to another like cockroaches. And so they run between the broken houses one by one, two by two. They get lost, break down, and come across ours.

The intelligence commander of the 1st rifle battalion of the 59th Brigade, “Boroda” (“Beard” — transl.), also told Slidstvo.Info that some of the unit’s fighters in the village of Pervomaiske are currently in a circular defence. There is no way to take them out now, so food, water and batteries for radios are being dropped from drones. 

It must be very difficult when you realise that the enemy is in the next house?

On the one hand, of course, it is hard. On the other hand, the guys do not give up, they work, shoot there, observe and report everything that happens. In general, war is psychologically difficult. It is never easy. And when the enemy is not 500-700 metres away, but 20-50 metres away, it is certainly harder. But today he is, and tomorrow he is not. Tomorrow he is knocked out. We are helping them from the sky.

We don’t want to leave the position now, to risk the guys running for food and water, because there is a high risk of losses. But we don’t feel sorry for the drones — it’s better to lose a drone, two or ten, than one soldier.


What is the current situation with ammunition in your area? Is there enough? 

There is a shortage of ammunition, but not so critical, what is needed now are people. And the point is not, as many people like to say, that we have a lot of dead. Yes, of course, this is a war, we have losses. But people drop out because they are injured or simply for health reasons. Because even young guys can’t stand to spend two years in the trenches, their health is not good enough. And in our army, the average age is probably 40-42. Because we don’t have young people going to war, we have men who are over 40. A lot of them leave for health reasons… And fewer come back for various reasons. And this is the main reason why there are not enough people.

If there were more people, it would be much easier for those guys in the trenches, because they would know that they have been in the trenches for two days and then gone on a break for two days. But now he has to sit more. And because of this, morale is already declining, it’s harder. 


We talked to sappers in this area. They are now working mostly at night and often very close to the line. How effective is this? 

Mine action has always been effective. I would say that mining is the most effective against vehicles. 

In a month, we destroyed 25 pieces of equipment, and we didn’t destroy all the vehicles that came. They still have a lot more. So we try to mine them. Of course, it is difficult because there are drones flying all the time, artillery, drones with drops, nighttime kamikaze drones. It’s hard work, but the guys are trying. Engineers and infantry are working, too. We are even trying to mine with the infantry. And as a result, the guys of my battalion alone destroyed 3 enemy infantry fighting vehicles. It was thanks to the fact that the guys themselves placed the mines.


What do you think is Russians’ main objective in this sector? 

The main objective here, in our area, is Pervomaiske and the nearest settlements: Orlivka, Tonenke, Severne, Nevilske. It is important for them to show a picture: “We have liberated Pervomaiske”. But there is nothing left to liberate. They have already levelled everything to the ground. There is no place to go there anymore. There will be no life there anymore. That settlement will simply have to be levelled to the ground and a new one built. And in order to level it, you need to get rid of so much unexploded stuff that it seems to me that it’s better to go out into the field and build a new one. These are all settlements like this.

Any settlement that was “liberated by the liberators”, whether it was Pervomaiske, Mariinka, or Avdiivka. 

Now for them, it’s just… just a settlement on the map to show that they are better and, of course, to adjust the line a little bit. 

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