Approximately 50 mobilized Russian soldiers sent their families a desperate video, saying they were being led by a drunk commander and without the supplies to survive in Bakhmut.
In a video message directed to their relatives, the Russian soldiers from the 85th Brigade gathered somberly in Svetlodarsk, expressing that they were deployed to fight in Bakhmut without adequate supplies to survive, according to a post by independent Russian outlet Astra on Telegram.
Astra stated that the video was provided by the soldiers’ families, and after its recording, at least 10 of these men were deployed in Bakhmut. However, the details of their deployment and the exact timing of the video could not be independently verified by Insider.
The troops listed numerous grievances, mentioning that they were ordered to reinforce unmined positions with an intoxicated commander but were hindered by intense enemy fire from tanks, mortars, and missiles.
A soldier in the video disclosed that a commander from another unit informed them it would be a suicide mission for their group. Despite their protests, they were instructed to proceed and “die an honorable death.” Those who resisted were threatened with imprisonment or death, being labeled as traitors.
The soldiers emphasized that they were ill-equipped for combat and were not adequately supported. They voiced their refusal to fight under such circumstances and with their current commanders.
Additionally, they revealed that their salaries were only partially paid and often delayed, causing further frustration and hardship.
The video was recorded using their phones, providing some comfort amidst the dire situation they faced.
Battle for Bakhmut and Russian troop mobilization
Bakhmut has been a heavily contested city, witnessing intense fighting for an extended period. The Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, was stationed there before being replaced by the Russian army.
In September, Russia mobilized around 300,000 men to strengthen its manpower in Ukraine. However, reports surfaced shortly after the mobilization, with troops sharing accounts of inadequate training and being treated as expendable.
As of now, the Russian Defense Ministry has not responded to Insider’s request for comment.
The release of the video coincides with fresh Russian airstrikes on cities in southern and eastern Ukraine.. These attacks potentially involved drones and ballistic missiles, leading to the destruction of several buildings.