- Video captured a group of Russian soldiers appealing directly to Putin for help in Ukraine.
- The soldier says his unit has been replenished six times, as Russian troops experience major losses.
- Russia is currently pushing into the Ukrainian stronghold city of Bakhmut.
Russian soldiers in Ukraine are pleading directly to their president, Vladimir Putin, for help as their unit keeps getting replenished with new fighters after others die.
“Our command has replenished our unit with new mobilized six times now. This is evidence of the incompetence of our superiors and of the whole unit,” a Russian soldier says in a video obtained and translated by CNN. The faces of the soldiers in the video are hidden.
“Please help. There is nowhere else to turn,” the soldier continues.
CNN, which published the clip on Wednesday, reported the video was recorded to be sent directly to Putin.
A separate video, also published by CNN and taken by another Russian soldier in eastern Ukraine, showed smoke coming from a Russian tank. It’s unclear if the soldiers who made the videos were from the same unit.
“Our tank is burning over there,” the soldier says, adding he’s providing “firsthand evidence” from the frontlines. “It is a clusterfuck, but we are pushing.”
“Glory to Russia,” he adds.
The videos come as Russian troops advance on the eastern city of Bakhmut, where forces have carried out a monthslong offensive to capture the Ukrainian stronghold.
“Our military is obviously going to weigh all of the options. So far, you know, they’ve held the city, but, if need be, they will strategically pull back because we’re not going to second guess all of our people just for nothing,” he said.
Still, Russian forces have experienced mass casualties since the invasion last year. Up to 200,000 Russian soldiers have been wounded or killed, while an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 have died, according to UK officials.
More Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine than in all previous wars the country has fought since World War II combined, according to a new analysis by the Center for Strategic & International Studies. The analysis estimates 60,000 to 70,000 Russian soldiers have died.