« Gore, But No Glory For Russia’s Ukraine War ‘Veterans' », by Christopher Miller, RFERL August 17, 2017
MOSCOW/ST. PETERSBURG — Russian volunteer Andrei Kamayev arrived in war-torn eastern Ukraine in late September 2014, bursting with patriotic bravado and convinced that he was following in the footsteps of his grandfather — a Soviet intelligence officer in World War II — by fighting against « fascists and Nazis. »
Using terms propagated by the Kremlin to describe Ukrainian government forces fighting Russia-backed separatists, the 49-year-old Kamayev admits to other motives for joining up: he also wanted to help restore the « Russky Mir, » or Russian World, and stave off the perceived encroachment of NATO.
But his dream of military glory came to a quick and devastating end on February 1, 2015. As Kamayev followed a convoy of tanks during an assault near the strategic town of Debaltseve — then Ukrainian-controlled — a mortar shell exploded beside him, shredding part of his left leg. He was evacuated to a nearby hospital, but without the proper medicine to treat him, gangrene set in and doctors were forced to amputate the rest of his leg up to his hip…..