Russian soldiers have abandoned their posts in another major blow to Vladimir Putin.
Leaked footage showed 39 troops, of the 252nd motorised rifle regiment, demanding to be returned home just nine days after they had arrived on the front lines in Ukraine.
An informer told gulagu.net the men had received just two weeks of training before being sent to the front line, sometimes being abandoned by commanders, and decided to put down their weapons after seeing their comrades be killed and injured in action.
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“For several days they hid from shelling, some were seriously wounded, others were killed,” said a relative of the men.
“Our men ran out of provisions and water, there was no ammunition.
“They ate what they could find, and drank from a puddle.
“Nothing was brought to them, they were simply sent to their deaths.
“There was no command, [and] no communication with the commanders either.”
According to the men, they were sent to Svatovo-Makeyevka, in the Russian-controlled region of Luhansk, armed with just two weeks of training, on October 20.
During their brief training they were reportedly allowed to "shoot four times, dig trenches, and given first-aid instruction – and that was all,” fuelling theories that mobilised Russian troops are being sent out as "cannon fodder."
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Once on the front line, they were bombarded by shelling and some of their comrades were killed or wounded in the onslaught.
"They simply abandoned [these men], who had no military training, into a zone of mortar fire, with no consideration for their future fate," the informer added.
Just nine days after arrival, the relatives of 39 of the troops sent a bus to retrieve them from the war zone and bring them home, according to reports.
The bus took them to the checkpoint between Luhansk and Russia, where commanders intercepted the journey and stopped them from going back to their unit in Russia – meaning they are now stuck.
They are set to be charged with desertion and they are worried they may even be sent back to the front lines.
A spokesman for the group said: “We are mobilised servicemen of the 252nd motorised rifle regiment who reached the [Luhansk] border in the village of Melovoye.
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“We contacted our commanders to be taken back to our unit inside Russia…
“They won't let us go to the Russian side.
“We have written an application [but] no-one hears us and no-one wants to listen to us…
“We are asking for legal assistance.”
The men are poised to be charged with desertion.
The informer said: "They have two choices – either they will be sent back to their deaths for slaughter, or they will be sent to prison.
“It is so arbitrary.
“Why are mobilised men being blamed, who were not properly prepared, not trained, and sent under shelling by the armed forces of Ukraine without commanders, provisions and ammunition?
“We are all afraid that the leadership will simply cover their skins and frame our men who are not to blame for anything.”
Later reports added that the men's phones had also been taken away.
Another relative said: "We've been trying to get them out for a week.
"All their commanders know about this, but they don't give a damn.”
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