- Hundreds of drafted Russians have already died in Ukraine, Russian media reported.
- “They were given four grenades, they dug the ground with their hands,” said the sister of one draftee.
- Earlier reports have highlighted the lack of training and equipment given to Russian soldiers.
The sister of a Russian soldier sent to Ukraine said soldiers suffered massive injuries, were given no weapons and were expected to dig trenches with their bare hands.
Hundreds of recently mobilized Russian soldiers have died on the front lines in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, according to Russian news outlets, following three days of undermining by the Ukrainian army.
On Sunday, TV Rain, an independent Russian TV channel that moved to Latvia earlier this year, spoke to relatives of two of the soldiers. He posted the exchanges on Telegram.
The sister of a soldier named Alexander, who was drafted on October 16, said they came to the Luhansk region on November 1 and were immediately sent to the front.
“The commanders said you are meat, they brought you here for this, they will kill you all anyway. They gave them one sapper spade for 30 people and told them to dig ditches for themselves,” he said at sight360 .
After that the commanders told the soldiers that they were going to get them food, and they left, according to his story. He said that 40 minutes later the men began to be hit by artillery strikes which went on for three days.
Of the 560 sent alongside him, Alexander told his sister, after the shelling, they could only account for 31. They don’t know exactly what happened to the rest.
“They had no weapons, nothing. They had four grenades, they dug the ground with their hands,” Ekaterina Brazhnikova, the sister of a different mobile soldier, told the news outlet.
The accounts add to previous reports suggesting serious dysfunction in Russia’s efforts to rush about 300,000 additional Russians into the army to fight in Ukraine.
On Friday, the UK Ministry of Defense said it is likely that the Russian army is now deploying units with the sole purpose of threatening to shoot soldiers caught retreating in Ukraine.
“These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers in order to force violations and have been used in previous clashes by Russian forces,” he said, adding that this was due to low morale and reluctance to fight among soldiers.
Earlier reports have highlighted the lack of training and equipment for Russian soldiers.
In October, UK intel said Russia was rushing reservists into battle with “hardly serviceable” rifles, creating a new kind of headache for Putin’s generals.
British intelligence said in many cases these reservists arrived in Ukraine “under-equipped,” with Russian officials concerned that some individuals were even sent unarmed.