Drafted Russian soldiers made a video appeal to Vladimir Putin for help.
They feared they would be “slaughtered” and criticized their commanders’ “lawless and criminal orders.”
Most of the soldiers in the regiment have died in Donetsk since recording the video, a report says.
Almost an entire regiment of mobilized Russian troops have reportedly died after they recorded a video appeal to President Vladimir Putin saying they were being sent “to be slaughtered” in Ukraine.
The soldiers from Russia’s Irkutsk region in Siberia said they were “illegally” placed under the command of Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk and asked for Putin’s help dealing with their “lawless and criminal orders,” according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“Please help,” the soldiers say in the video while in their uniforms with their faces covered. “There is nowhere else to turn.”
Relatives of two of the soldiers told reporters that nearly the entire regiment was destroyed between February 28 to March 1 after they were sent to storm Ukrainian fortifications near occupied Donetsk, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Siberian branch reported.
Some of the troops are wounded but the rest have died and are marked as “missing,” the outlet said.
In the video, which was published by Telegram channel of the Siberian news outlet Lyudi Baikala on February 25, the soldiers directly ask Putin for help.
The draftees said they were sent to the Donbas region in Ukraine and put into assault units within a day and ordered to attack the city of Avdiivka without any support, heavy weapons, or preparation, according to the Russian outlet Meduza.
“Command told us directly that we are expendable and that the only chance we have of returning home is getting injured,” the soldiers say in the video, per Meduza.
They further claimed that commanders from the Donetsk People’s Republic, the unrecognized breakaway republic formed by Russian-backed separatists, would fire machine guns at troops who refused to join the assault units.
The video was the soldiers’ third such appeal, according to the Russian outlet The Insider. The outlet said the men were from Regiment 1439, second battalion. A Russian battalion’s strength ranges from 250 to 950 soldiers and officers.
The Russian Governor of Irkutsk, Igor Kobzev, said on Telegram that he had asked the military prosecutor’s office to look into the video message and added that draftees would be sent to a different place in the future.
Putin ordered the partial mobilization of the country’s military reservists in September, which sparked anti-war protests and thousands of fighting-age men fleeing the country.
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