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Azerbaijani-Italian Fighter to Asharq Al-Awsat: I'm a Professional Sniper Waiting for the Russians

Azerbaijani-Italian Fighter to Asharq Al-Awsat: I'm a Professional Sniper Waiting for the Russians

Friday, 11 March, 2022 - 06:15
A selfie the Azerbaijani-Italian fighter sent from Lviv. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

At 9:45 pm, Logan, 32, stands in front of a student dorm at a vocational center in a town in western Ukraine. Catching a smoke before curfew, he says: "You cannot escape from local customs, even during war."


Logan, an Azerbaijani-Italian fighter, was making his way to Lviv from Italy. He crossed into Ukraine from Romania and was seeking to join volunteer foreign fighters to defend Ukraine.


"I wasn't able to persuade my taxi driver to continue driving me to Lviv during the night. He told me of a local saying: 'Eat when you can, as you never know when you will be able eat again later.'"


The saying appears to have first emerged when Ukraine suffered great famine decades ago. It prompted the driver, who was transporting Logan free of charge, to stop at a volunteer soup kitchen in the town.


Soon after the meal was over, sirens rang out, forcing everyone into the shelter at the vocational center.


"Nothing will happen. This region is safe," the driver kept saying. Russian jets had flown over nearby villages, said the locals. They carried out strikes against a suspected supply route, destroying roads and blocking access to Kyiv.


Hundreds of locals gathered in the poorly ventilated shelter. At 9 m, the sirens stopped and the people could again move about freely. However, the 10 pm curfew meant that Logan was forced to pause his journey and spend the night in town.


Logan angrily puffed away his last cigarette. Sergei, the volunteer running the dorm as a refugee shelter, managed to find him a warm bed to spend the night.


Sergei proudly proclaimed that no one has yet had to sleep out in the open or without heating.


Logan appeared unperturbed by the elements. He received combat training in Azerbaijan, where he fought for nearly a year in one of the various wars that erupted in the region. He then moved to Italy to complete his education. He earned a master's degree in international relations and later landed a job at the Italian branch of a major German company.


He took out his phone and showed me his personal photos. One shows him at a desk with the logo of the German company on the wall behind him. Another shows him in an expensive suit as he visited the company's factory. He showed me many more of his life in his second home, Italy.


"Putin is my enemy also," he added.


Logan is a professional sniper. He uses an alias that means one standing on a high hill, reflecting the way a sniper thinks. However, the man standing on the high hill had to spend the night in a low shelter.


He left the shelter the next morning. Two days later, he sent me a photo of him in Ukrainian military uniform and voice message: "My friend, I am well in Lviv. I am waiting for the moment they send us to the front to fight the Russians. Did you make it to Kyiv? How are things on your end?"


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