A shocking video posted to the social media platform Telegram shows Russian soldiers complaining of mass casualties and a lack of support from the Kremlin. The clip, which is just over 3 minutes long, was later posted on other platforms, including Twitter. The soldiers said they lacked equipment and supplies and blamed “incompetent” leaders. They also described “colossal” personnel losses.
The embattled men provided details about their mission; they are posted to Klishchiivka in the Donetsk region and have been there since August 15. They say their military command “has failed to provide us with artillery support or counter-battery defenses,” and there is “a complete lack of electronic warfare activity.” They also claimed that they were promised that losses of 10 to 35% of the regiment would result in its withdrawal, but they are down to just 25 to 30% and yet remain in situ.
The outcry comes amid a dangerous period for Russia as Ukraine regains territory in Donetsk and Bakhmut, where Volodymyr Zelensky’s army now claims to have full control. Both sides are reportedly suffering heavy losses in the fighting, and a separate video emerged on September 8 showing Russian troops retreating as artillery shells rained down.
In yet another blow to Putin and yet another video, Russian troops claimed they were being blackmailed into fighting. The soldiers, filmed trying to break ice with their rifles in freezing conditions, said they were not receiving medical care or basic provisions, and that the money intended to fund their fighting had been “stolen.”
The complaints are reminiscent of the war of words between President Putin and the former leader of the private mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Mr. Prigozhin was so infuriated by the lack of support from Moscow that he and his troops began to march toward the capital, only to turn away and cancel their planned mutiny within miles of the city. Prigozhin died in a plane crash two months later.