Near Kharkiv, Ukraine — Seva Kozhmyako has become adept at navigating dangerous roads through Ruska Luzova in the northeast.. He and the other soldiers of the charter battalion crouch across the ruined village. Although liberated from occupation, it is still on the Russian firing line.
Just a few months ago, Kozhmyako was a wealthy businessman. Now he is using his millions to fund his voluntary defense unit, the Charter Battalion.
He is convinced that Ukraine has a clear advantage in the war against its huge neighbours to the east.
“Ukrainians differ from Russians in one very important way,” he told CBS News correspondent Deborah Fatta. “Ukrainians love freedom.”
“It’s somewhat safe, but it’s good to be careful with your steps anyway,” he warns the CBS news team. They warn you before sprinting across an open road to avoid detection by Russian drones roaming the town.
The cloud cover helped them that day. But everyone was still a bit vigilant.
“Of course we are all concerned.” He told Patta about the relative safety of the bomb shelter. “I’m worried, too. Everyone is worried here… everyone is afraid.”
If the military runs in camouflage, the charter battalion is doing very well. CBS News saw food and weapons being prepared side by side. It was a fish night.
When they came back out and ran the other way, Patta asked if he had become accustomed to manual labor, from a businessman to a soldier.
He said he has completed three marathons, including in New York City.
Kozhmyako ignored the Russian army. He bluntly branded his reputation as “Bull***” even before the invasion of his country, one of the most powerful fighting forces in the world.
He spit bitterly, showing Patta a huge crater in the ground and describing it as evidence of Russian military tactics.
Kozhmyako knows the danger she faces and does not pretend to be immune to it. But like many other Ukrainians, he was willing to sacrifice his whole life for camouflage and rifles. And he is willing to die for his country.