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Ukrainian sniper ripped apart by a Russian shell says he had 16 operations to put his teeth and body back together so he could return to the front lines

A Ukrainian sniper calibrates the telescopic sight of his rifle during heavy shelling in Siversk, Ukraine, July 08th, 2022.
A Ukrainian sniper, not one interviewed by CNN, calibrates the telescopic sight of his rifle during heavy shelling in Siversk, Ukraine, July 8, 2022.Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Snipers with Ukraine's SBU shared details of their mission to terrorize and demoralize the Russians with CNN.

  • One said he had to have 16 operations to get back to the front after he was wounded.

  • In the video of the interview, the snipers were seen using American-made Barrett sniper rifles.

A Ukrainian sniper with an elite unit tasked with terrorizing Russian troops revealed in a recent interview that after he was severely wounded in battle, he had over a dozen operations to get back to the front lines.

The sniper, who was identified only as Sasha, told CNN reporter Nick Paton Walsh that a large Russian shell damaged his chest, legs, and face last March.

With his face partially covered and his voice distorted, likely due to the sensitivity of the work and the high-priority target status for snipers, the man shared that he had a total of 16 operations to reset bones, repair his body, and rebuild his teeth.

He described the process simply as "unpleasant" and indicated that remnants of those injuries are still visible in aspects of his appearance. But with the operations behind him, he went "back into the fight." The sniper's unit is on the front lines somewhere in the Zaporizhzhia region.

A view from the viewfinder of a Ukrainian sniper rifle at a shooting range amid Russia and Ukraine war in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on August 09, 2023.
A view from the viewfinder of a Ukrainian sniper rifle at a shooting range amid Russia and Ukraine war in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on August 09, 2023.Ignacio Marin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Another member of Sasha's sniper unit, part of the SBU, or Ukraine's security services, said that the mission is "sniper terror," which he said "demoralizes them and kills their will." Inflicting psychological damage on the enemy and breaking their morale has long been a part of sniper operations.

CNN reported that the unit claims to have inflicted substantial damage on Russian forces but did not report a kill count.

In a separate report on another front-line Ukrainian sniper unit, BBC reported that the unit, called the "Ghosts of Bakhmut," claims over 500 kills, with the leader claiming over 70 kills.

One of the marksmen in the unit said the numbers of killed are "nothing to be proud of." He said that "we're not killing people, we're destroying the enemy."

Not all sniper activity is putting precision shots down range. In fact, for many, other activities like reconnaissance take priority.

A group of snipers who recently talked to the Kyiv Post, for instance, said their preferred tactic is to relay battlefield information to an artillery or mortar unit rather than risk exposing their position by taking a shot.

The snipers said that if a sniper takes a shot, the Russians will quickly retaliate with indirect fire, trying to eliminate the threat to their forces.

A Ukrainian sniper with the 28th Brigade holds the barrel of his firearm as he moves to a fighting position facing Russian troops from a frontline trench on March 05, 2023 outside of Bakhmut, Ukraine.
A Ukrainian sniper with the 28th Brigade holds the barrel of his firearm as he moves to a fighting position facing Russian troops from a front-line trench on March 05, 2023 outside of Bakhmut, Ukraine.John Moore/Getty Images

In the more recent report on Ukraine's snipers, Sasha told CNN that his unit has also taken losses, revealing that he has "lost many people."

He added that the "best ones leave us first."

In the CNN video, the SBU snipers can be seen using American-made Barrett sniper rifles, which a report from the Kyiv Post said are a favorite among Ukrainian marksmen.

A Ukrainian sniper identified as Federchuk by the outlet said the Canadian-made Cadex Defence CDX-33 TAC series rifle, .338 Lapua Magnum caliber, quickly became popular among snipers early in the war.

Some other popular sniper rifles, the Kyiv Post reported, include the Finnish-made SAKO TRG and the US-made Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD), which are regularly chambered in .338 but also .308.

The Barrett MRAD became the weapon of choice among many US military snipers, including special operations, a few years ago because of the flexibility it offers through its inherent ability to be chambered in three different calibers.

In its report, CNN speculated that given their high operational tempo, the Ukrainian snipers may be stressing the weapons beyond what they were actually designed to handle, but that remains unclear.

Read the original article on Business Insider