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Untrained Russian draftees thrown under fire in Luhansk, face accusations of desertion after retreat

The media project has released a video depicting Russian mobilized soldiers requesting help in leaving Ukraine. The soldiers’ relatives contacted and said that the draftees were thrown under mortar fire without preparation or communication with their command. After they retreated and went to look for a military unit, the men were threatened with accusations of desertion.

The wife of one of the mobilized men recorded her husband's conversation with the military police, who came to deal with the men in the Luhansk region. The recording was made available to The Insider. In it, the mobilized are outraged that they were “told face-to-face” (they refuse to say who) that they would leave the region as “two hundreds” (Russian military code for dead troops) – meaning they would be killed.

“Do we have any rights at all? They want to tear us out of our families and kill us. Other draftees will then take our place. They told this to our faces,” say the men in the video.

The soldiers were assigned to unit No. 91711, 252nd regiment, separate rifle battalion, 2nd company, 1st platoon, and had been deployed in the Luhansk region in the direction of Svatove-Makiivka since early October. The draftees were sent there after two weeks of “training”: their relatives claim they had been at the firing range four times and “dug some trenches.” The mobilized came under mortar fire from the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) armed only with grenades and submachine guns.

In late October, they were moved even closer to the AFU shelling zone without any communication with their command, according to their relatives: “For several days they hid from the shelling, some were seriously wounded and some were killed. Our guys ran out of food and water and had no ammunition. They ate what they could find and drank from a puddle. [They] were sent to their deaths.”

After that, the thirty-nine men that remained decided to retreat and went in search of the nearest military unit. On October 28, they reached a military unit in the Luhansk region, where they were ordered to lay down their weapons. It turned out that according to the documents, the soldiers were in place illegally, while they were supposed to be in the Belgorod region. The men were then sent “to the Rostov region on foot.»

The draftees' relatives had ordered a bus to pick them up from Starobilsk, which was waiting for them at Russia's Chertkovo checkpoint. However, the soldiers never made it to the Belgorod military unit. A military commandant picked them up at the checkpoint and took them to the Luhansk village of Milove. The 39 men now face potential charges of desertion.

A telephone conversation between the head of the commandant's office and the commander of the Belgorod military unit that sent the draftees to war revealed that the latter had not the slightest idea of the 39 soldiers' whereabouts.

“This is nothing short of the extermination of our men. Not even by the enemy, but by our own commanders!” – say their relatives.

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