Published: Less than 50 min ago
Updated: Less than 30 min ago
The data from the elite soldiers in the marine infantry shakes the Russian leadership.
The unit claims to have suffered heavy losses during a “puzzling” offensive in eastern Ukraine.
“The commanders cover up what happened,” the soldiers state.
Commanders’ incompetence led to the killing of 300 Russian soldiers from the 155th Marine Brigade in fighting in Pavlivka, southwest of Donetsk, last week.
This is claimed by representatives of the elite unit in a letter to the governor of Primorye, whose capital, Vladivostok, is home to the brigade.
“Approximately 300 men were killed, injured and disappeared in four days due to the “carefully” planned offensive of our “fantastic” commanders,” the letter reads.
The information from the letter has been disseminated to the public by Russian military bloggers who are favorable to the Kremlin and the war in Ukraine.
The accusations are so explosive that the Russian Ministry of Defense on Monday took the unusual decision to draw attention to them – and deny everything.
The Russian parliament, the Duman, also announces that it has taken note of the “rumors” and will investigate them, writes the Russian state-controlled news agency Tass.
It was during Sunday that the soldiers in the marine infantry attacked their commanders after a few days of offensive against Ukrainian positions in Pavlivka, which, according to the Russian soldiers, went horribly wrong.
The offensive began on November 2 and the goal was to clear an area important for the Russians to be able to transport supplies to their soldiers.
Saws his commanders
So far, both the Russian leadership, Ukraine and the marines are in agreement.
But otherwise the picture differs considerably.
The soldiers write in the letter to the governor that they were “thrown into a puzzling offensive”.
“The commanders cover this up for fear of having to be held accountable,” it writes, adding that the leadership sees the soldiers “as cannon fodder.”
The soldiers accuse their commanders of being under the patronage of the top Russian military leadership and want Governor Oleg Kozhemyako to appoint an independent commission to evaluate the reasonableness of the offensive.
Information about high Russian death tolls during the offensive in Pavlivka came already on Friday.
Then a Russian war correspondent stated that 63 soldiers had died during the two-day battle.
Even then, more Russian marines were said to have been killed in the offensive than in the entire first war in Chechnya in the 1990s, writes The Moscow Times.
On Monday, Governor Kozhemyako ordered an investigation into whether the information could be about “disinformation from the Ukrainian intelligence service”.
The Russian answer
The Russian Ministry of Defense believes that the offensive was very successful.
It is said that the brigade’s losses “do not exceed one percent killed and seven percent wounded”, but without specifying the number.
But it is stated that the Ukrainian losses are “seven to nine times greater” than those suffered by the Russian naval brigade.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the brigade has “effectively” advanced five kilometers during the offensive and will continue until “the combat tasks are fully completed”.
– The governor has notified the relevant authorities. They will look into the matter. We will monitor the situation carefully, says Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee in the Duma, to Tass.