Videos show desperate Russian troops fleeing from their burning tanks and a group of soldiers being blown up by Ukrainian missiles during a disastrous assault on a town in eastern Ukraine that saw 300 soldiers reportedly killed or wounded.
Footage shows Russian marines from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade driving a burning T-80BVM tank, along a road in the largely destroyed town of Pavlivka, as flames and black smoke erupted from the vehicle following a Ukrainian strike.
A group of Russian soldiers can be seen climbing on top of the tank and jumping down before they ran away from the burning wreck.
Another astonishing video shows dozens of Russian marines, packed closely together, running into a deserted house in the town. A few seconds later, Ukrainian missiles rained down on them in a deadly strike.
Further footage shows Russian soldiers driving their tanks through minefields, with their vehicles erupting into flames one by one.
A number of Vladimir Putin’s men can be seen lying dead in the ditches of the fields surrounding Pavlivka after they were shot by Ukrainian soldiers after they tried to flee their burning tanks.
The videos show just how calamitous Russia’s assault on Pavlivka earlier this month was – and provides further evidence of Russian generals treating their recruits as ‘cannon fodder’.
The assault was so disastrous that the Russian marines from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade, who led the four-day assault, publicly criticised their ‘incompetent’ generals in an open letter.
Footage shows Russian marines from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade driving a burning T-80BVM tank, along a road in the largely destroyed town of Pavlivka, as flames and black smoke erupted from the vehicle following a Ukrainian strike
A group of Russian soldiers can be seen climbing on top of the tank and jumping down before they ran away from the burning wreck
Another astonishing video shows dozens of Russian marines, packed closely together, running into a deserted house in the town
A few seconds later, Ukrainian missiles rained down on them in a deadly strike
Further footage shows Russian soldiers driving their tanks through minefields, with their vehicles erupting into flames one by one
The soldiers wrote a scathing letter to their regional governor, claiming they had lost 300 servicemen in a four-day massacre in Pavlivka thanks to the catastrophic planning of Generals Rustam Muradov and Zurab Akhmedov.
The marines claimed Russian commanders were ‘hiding’ the mayhem in the Donetsk region and ‘playing down the number of losses for fear of being held responsible’.
The soldiers demanded in their letter that Vladimir Putin is personally told of the alleged massacre and that he will set up an independent military commission.
Drone footage shows Russian soldiers driving a burning T-80BVM tank through the deserted streets of Pavlivka, as flames ripped through the vehicle. Some of Putin’s men were seen scrambling to get out of the tank before they ran down the road.
A second video shows Russian soldiers fleeing from Ukrainian artillery fire and piling into an abandoned house in the village. But a few seconds later, they are blown up as Ukrainian missiles rain down on them.
Another video Russian tanks being struck by Ukrainian missiles in a field on the outskirts of Pavlivka.
The videos of the disastrous assault comes as footage appeared to show thousands of mobilised Russian soldiers staging an extraordinary mutiny against their general for sending them to the front line with a lack of supplies and equipment.
Major-General Kirill Kulakov, 53, faced chants of ‘get out of here’, ‘shame on you’, and ‘down with Putin’s regime’ as thousands of mobilised men joined a protest at their training base in the city of Kazan, southwest Russia, on the night before they were due to be sent to the front line.
Soldiers who led the mutiny told superiors they could not fight because they had endured weeks of water shortages and scarce rations – and now they were going to be sent into battle with ‘rusty machine guns from the 1970s’.
Russian marines have said their ‘incompetent’ generals are treating them as ‘cannon fodder’ after their unit suffered devastating losses, with 300 men reportedly killed or wounded in four days of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. Pictured: Soldiers on the front lines in Pavlivka
The letter comes as footage appeared to show thousands of mobilised Russian soldiers staging an extraordinary mutiny against their general for sending them to the front line with a lack of supplies and equipment. Major-General Kirill Kulakov, 53, (pictured in the hat) faced chants of ‘get out of here’, ‘shame on you’, and ‘down with Putin’s regime’ at their training base in the city of Kazan, southwest Russia
Volunteers of the Ukrainian World Foundation inspect a former Russian military fortification in the northern Kherson region on Sunday
Meanwhile, the marines wrote the letter about the bloodbath in Pavlivka to their regional governor Oleg Kozhemyako in Primorsky – in the Russian Far East – in a bid to get their plaintive message to Putin and the upper echelons of the defence ministry.
A pro-Kremlin war reporter highlighted the situation in Pavlivka – known as Pavlovka in Russia – because he feared the marines were becoming ‘meat mixed with earth and boards’.
They state in the leaked communique: ‘Yet again we were thrown into an incomprehensible attack by Generals [Rustam] Muradov and [Zurab] Akhmedov, so that Muradov could get bonuses from [chief of the general staff Valery] Gerasimov, and his promised Hero of Russia [medal].
‘So it was us and the Marines from Kamchatka advancing on Pavlivka.’
‘As a result of the ‘carefully planned’ attack by these ‘great commanders’ we lost about 300 people in four days, killed, wounded and missing.
‘We lost 50 per cent of our military equipment, and this was just our brigade.’
The marines added: ‘The enemy is destroying our men on the evacuation routes. Pavlivka is also lower than Ugledar, from where they attack us.’
The marines appealed to the governor: ‘How long will mediocrities like Muradov and Akhmedov plan military operations for the sake of their reports, and for receiving awards at the cost of so many lives?’
‘They don’t care about anything but themselves, they call people cannon fodder.
‘We ask you to get in touch with the supreme [commander Putin] so that a commission is sent to investigate what happened.
‘Not from the Ministry of Defence, where Muradov’s ‘roof’ is Gerasimov, but a properly independent commission.
‘How much longer should we be standing it for!’
A Ukrainian servicemen from the 127th brigade looks up to the sky after hearing the sound of a drone at their position near the Ukrainian border with Russia in the Kharkiv region on Saturday
A Ukrainian soldier works at digging a trench in the Kherson region on Sunday
Marines from Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade wrote a scathing letter to their regional governor, saying they had lost 300 servicemen in a four-day massacre in Pavlivka thanks to the catastrophic planning of Generals Rustam Muradov (left) and Zurab Akhmedov (right)
Russia’s defence ministry took a rare step today of denying the allegations that the naval infantry unit had suffered disastrous losses of men and equipment in the battle.
It rejected the rejected the assertion that the marines unit had suffered ‘high, pointless losses in people and equipment’.
On the contrary, in the course of 10 days it had advanced 5 km (over 3 miles) into Ukrainian defensive positions, RIA quoted the ministry as saying. The statement specifically denied that the brigade’s commanders had shown incompetence.
‘Due to the competent actions of the unit commanders, the losses of marines for the given period do not exceed 1% of combat strength, and 7% wounded, a significant part of whom have already returned to duty,’ it said.
The unusual denial suggested the reported losses had touched a raw nerve at a point in the war’s ninth month when Russian forces are under heavy pressure in partly occupied regions of Ukraine that Moscow has proclaimed as its own territory – actions denounced as illegal by Kyiv, the West and most countries of the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Governor Kozhemyako appeared to acknowledge the letter was genuine but said it exaggerated the scale of the true losses.
‘We contacted the commanders. Yes there are losses, there’s heavy fighting, but they are far from what is written in this appeal,’ he said in a video statement on his Telegram channel.
Russian military bloggers, some of whom command audiences of half a million or more on social media, have become increasingly critical of the failings of Moscow’s generals since Ukraine recaptured large parts of the northeast of the country in September.
It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that Russia is suffering heavy losses in continuing ‘fierce’ attacks in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
‘Very fierce Russian attacks on Donetsk region are continuing. The enemy is suffering serious losses there,’ Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade is just one of several Russian units which raised concerns about the poor planning of their commanders.
Footage showed thousands of Russian conscripts shouting at Major-General Kirill Kulakov at a training base in Kazan, a city in Russia, with some yelling ‘let’s go home’.
Some men claimed the Putin general was ‘drunk’ while others taunted him for allegedly calling them ‘pigs’.
Footage showed thousands of Russian conscripts shouting at Major-General Kirill Kulakov at a training base in Kazan, a city in Russia, with some yelling ‘let’s go home’
He was urged by the mob to ‘apologise’ for the treatment of the mobilised men by the Russian army.
The commander sought to stay calm and reason with the men, telling them their orders were clear and their activities for the next day had been published.
At one point he said: ‘I am answering your questions….’
But one soldier screamed: ‘F***ing general, you know where you’re sending us,’ alluding to the front line where many conscripts fear they are being used as cannon fodder by a cruel regime with incompetent commanders.
Kulikov was told: ‘You’re sitting comfortably in a warm place.’
Up to 2,500 men were involved in the protest, according to social media accounts, and Kulikov was forced to call OMON riot police to restore calm.
‘The general was kicked out of here – the brute arrived drunk and [making complaints about our behaviour],’ said one enlisted soldier. ‘We have rusty machine guns from the 1970s that are not [tested], it is dangerous to shoot with them.’
They claimed visits by family to the training camp are ‘banned’.
The soldier added: ‘The equipment for 2,500 people is two Ural [trucks]. There is no water to shower, and the meals [are not regular].’
Trainers who have been to the front told the men they face death when they are sent there, they claimed.
A howitzer, belonging to Ukrainian artillery battery attached to the 59th Motorised Brigade, shoots-off to target the points controlled by Russian troops in Kherson Oblast
Ukrainian servicemen from the 127th brigade inspect destroyed Russian Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) near the Ukrainian border in Kharkiv region on Saturday
Meanwhile, the alleged four-day massacre in Pavlivka was first highlighted by Russian state TV reporter Alexander Sladkov, a staunch loyalist, in a sign that even Putin’s most loyal supporters are questioning the war.
He warned ‘the blood is pouring and pouring’ among Russian forces, with ‘great losses’ of people and equipment.
After claims that the letter may have been the work of Ukrainian special forces, he hit back today denying his account had been hacked, stating: ‘The goal is to save [Russian forces].
‘Let them become heroes, not meat mixed with earth and boards.’
Another pro-Russian war reporter, Semyon Pegov, said the slaughter of the marines was ‘extremely depressing news’.
Another pro-Kremlin war reporter Alexey Sukonkin said ‘terrible bloodshed was taking place in Pavlivka’, adding that the regional governor ‘will have to answer for the mediocrity of a commander who organised this bloody holiday.
Sukonkin added: ‘He will have to look into the eyes of widows and orphaned children.
‘An unenviable fate.’
He said: ‘This is just a case when society is simply obliged to demand from the military personal responsibility for the lives of citizens who have arrived at the front for mobilisation.’
Reports also suggest heavy Ukrainian losses in intense fighting.
But there are claims that Russian troops fell into a trap occupying half of Pavlivka and were then picked off by the Ukrainian forces.
Meanwhile, a Russian soldier from a different battalion has claimed that more than 500 of their comrades had been killed in the village of Makiivka, an hour north of Pavlivka.
A Ukrainian soldier prepares food at a position in the Kherson region on Saturday
Aleksey Agafonov, one of the alleged surviving servicemen, told Verstka in an unverified report that his unit was abandoned on the front line by generals and they were wiped out within days.
‘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 claimed.
‘When it all started the officers simply ran away.’
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 a video.
Meanwhile, new figures suggest that Putin’s war has cost more than 100,000 Russian lives.
Telegram channel General SVR claims that the Russian leader has been informed of 77,291 killed in his regular forces since he started the conflict in February.
In addition some 23,517 have been killed in private military companies like Wagner which are involved in his war.
Some 5,308 Russian national guards have also been killed, said the channel.
The Russian channel has regularly suggested the toll is higher than other sources.
If correct, it would mean an overall Russian toll of 106,116.