“I get my tactical skills from PUBG,” says a Ukrainian soldier who filmed a viral frontline video

In February 2023, a 21-year-old Ukrainian soldier, Ruslan “Predator” Zubarev, posted a video of a contact fight with Russians, which gained millions of views on social media and got mentioned in the worldwide news. On March 23, 2023, Censor.net published an interview with the soldier, where he says that paintball and computer games, in particular, helped him prepare for contact combat.

On February 18, 2023, “Predator” posted a series of videos of a contact fight with a Russian assault group and an infantry fighting vehicle in his Telegram channel. The video was shot with a GoPro camera. It quickly became viral, as it showed the audience, in particular, outside of Ukraine, what the war looks like “outside of TV”, in the first person view. The viewers were amazed by the endurance and tactical skills of the soldier, who effectively fought the enemy at a distance of several meters, under fire and grenades. Many people wrote that the video feels surreal as if it is a scene from Counter-Strike or another shooter game. They named the soldier “Ukrainian Rambo.”

The full video of the fight was posted multiple times.


On March 27, 2023, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, awarded the soldier with the Golden Cross award and a prized weapon thanking Ruslan for “repelling the attack of overwhelming enemy forces, showing bravery and courage in battle.”

In an interview, Ruslan said that he started filming the frontline videos for TikTok with his GoPro camera. He also runs a Telegram channel and is thinking about starting a YouTube channel. Commenting on his tactical skills, he said that he is getting them, in particular, thanks to playing paintball and computer games.

“I like to shoot, I have mastered all the weapons that my unit has. I was in Odesa on vacation after the fight and I had a lot of fun, we played a lot of paintball. I wish I was doing this sooner. Paintball is a very good preparation for a contact fight, I highly recommend it.

Where do I get tactical thinking from? I communicate with the commanders, I already have some experience. I get my tactical skills from PUBG, also a multiplayer shooter. I have high rating in this game. I play for the NO MERCY clan. So when I return from combat missions, and sometimes I get a few hours, I play PUBG,”

the soldier said.

Previously, AIN.Capital wrote about entrepreneurs from Kharkiv, who were developing a paintball club and producing equipment for Lazertag,  and later created tactical simulators that are now saving military lives in the war in Ukraine.