Here and Now. Nikita Barsukov. Young soldiers share their combat experiences, which earned them the honourable title ‘Hero of Russia’

During the Special Military Operation, first and second-year cadets from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School served under contract in one of the Ground Forces formations. Among them is Nikita Barsukov, who had aspired to become a soldier and defend his homeland since childhood. When the Ukrainian army began shelling civilians in Donbass, Nikita couldn't stand by and joined the SMO to protect them. His unit's primary tasks included assault and defence. They served as stormtroopers, aiming to free Donbass villages from Ukrainian nationalists. "The scariest thing is the unknown. You never know what's coming for you and when it'll land," says Konstantin Morozov, Nikita's fellow cadet. Once, his squad narrowly avoided being surrounded, but Konstantin not only saved himself but also rescued a wounded comrade.