An entire battalion of Russian mobilised men was wiped out within days of being sent to the frontline in Ukraine, survivors have told Russian opposition media.
The soldiers had been ordered to the frontline in Luhansk, Donbas, and then told to dig trenches, the Verstka news agency said in an unverified report.
“We had three shovels per battalion and there were no provisions at all. We dug in as best we could and in the morning the shelling started from artillery and helicopters. We were simply shot,” Agafonov, the alleged unit survivor, said.
“When it all started the officers simply ran away.”
Verstka quoted Agafonov as saying that out of a battalion of 570 men, most had been killed.
The news agency also quoted a group of wives of men in the same unit saying that their husbands had been abandoned.
“They did not sleep, did not eat, for three days they held the defence and did not run anywhere, unlike the command,” one of the women said in the video which was shot in Voronezh in southwest Russia.
It is not possible to independently verify the information, but reports of Russian officers abandoning their soldiers and of units of mobilised men being destroyed have become more frequent.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since 1941 in September to raise 300,000 men for his armies in Ukraine. Mobilised men have complained that they have been sent to the frontlines with only a handful of days of training and rusty weapons.