Civilian artillery observer helps repel Russia's attack on Hostomel airfield early in the war

Ukraine’s defence forces were able to repel the Russian attack on Hostomel airfield during the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion with the help of a civilian fire adjuster named Ruslan.

Source: Reporters, a Ukrainian reporting media outlet

Quote from Reporters: "Russian airborne forces invaded the territory of Ukraine from Belarus with 35 helicopters, a Su-25 attack jet, and a Su-24 bomber late in the evening of 24 February. The enemy jets and helicopters flew low over the Kyiv Reservoir in order not to be detected by our anti-air defence system. The Russian so-called ‘experts’ will call the operation in Hostomel the most difficult of their air attacks. Meanwhile, Ukrainians will give those events another name – the Hostomel trap.

Due to the very high intensity of combat engagements, when the attack happened, the Ukrainian Defence Forces detected the Russian paratroopers too late – they were already approaching the Antonov airfield. Unlike the invaders who attacked on land, the Russians in helicopters, attack and bomber jets were trained paratroopers tasked with rapidly capturing a foothold to help with a presumed future occupation of Kyiv Oblast and the capital itself."

Details: The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine started an urgent search for someone to help adjust Ukrainian artillery fire in order to hamper Russia’s plans. Oleksii Noskov, aide to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, found the right person.

According to Reporters, "A year later, Colonel Oleksiy Noskov has a hard time recalling who exactly gave him the phone number of a trusted guy in Hostomel. But he is sure that Zaluzhnyi is the only one who could agree to this risky idea of involving a civilian forward observer."

Quote from Reporters: "A man named Ruslan was the "eyes" in Hostomel on that stormy night. He adjusted our artillery fire by sending voice messages. Everything that Ruslan told the military turned out to be 100% true. In particular, thanks to the man’s "50 metres to the left" and "guys, you rock, you hit it, I see smoke" messages, the Antonov airfield was successfully defended."

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