Russian troops have condemned the “incomprehensible war” in Donetsk after apparently suffering heavy losses during a week of intense fighting in Ukraine’s key eastern region.
Moscow has been trying to breach Kyiv’s defenses around the city of Pavlivka for at least the past seven days, but appears to be making little progress after up to 300 people have been killed, according to an open letter published on a prominent Russian. Army Blog on Monday.
Members of the Russian Pacific Fleet’s 155th Squadron have leveled harsh criticism against a senior Russian officer.
The letter, reportedly sent from the front lines to the region’s Russian governor, comes amid Moscow’s chilling attack on the region, which President Vladimir Putin says it illegally annexed a month ago.
“We have once again been pushed into an incomprehensible war by General Muratov and his brother-in-law, his countryman Akhmatov, so that Muratov can earn a bonus to make him look good in the eyes of Gerasimov (Russia’s Chief of General Staff),” the men said in a memo to the governor of Primorsky Krai.
“As a result of the ‘carefully’ planned attack by the major commanders, we lost about 300 dead and wounded with some MIA in the last four days.
“We lost 50% of our equipment. It was only our army. The district command, along with Akhmatov, hides these facts and distorts official casualty figures for fear of being held accountable.
They appealed to Governor Oleg Kozhemiako: “How long will normal people like Muratov and Akhmatov be allowed to continue planning military operations and risking the lives of many to receive awards?”
Russian military commentators have criticized the army’s approach in Donetsk.
“The situation in Pavlivka has been discussed at the highest level for several days, and blood continues to be shed,” Alexander Slatkov, a Russian military journalist who works for All-Russian State Television and Radio, said in a Telegram.
“The troops now say there is a dilemma: depleted units cannot be withdrawn without bringing in new ones. There are no new units, and no possibility of withdrawal and replacement due to constant fire,” Russian military journalist Alexey Sukonkin posted on Telegram. .
“Why did we retreat from Pavlivka and now have to recapture it?” Aleksandr Kodakovsky, a pro-Russian commander in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, has criticized Moscow’s tactical approach to the region.
Kodakovsky said Russian troops were using the bases as defensive positions, meaning they were missing any lateral movement by the Ukrainians.
“That’s why some marines, including company commanders, were captured then. Not because they were weak in spirit, but because they were held hostage by their security system,” said Kotakovsky, adding that Ukrainian intelligence troops used high-rise buildings in nearby Wuhleder and cameras mounted on top of mine shafts to guide artillery attacks.
“The defenders of Pavlivka will be taken hostage again. Supplies and circulation will be difficult, and passage through Pavlivka will be impossible,” he said.
CNN could not verify how many soldiers signed the letter or their positions, but Governor Gojemiako confirmed he received the letter from the unit.
“We have contacted our naval commanders on the front lines who have been in combat since the start of the operation,” the governor said in a telegram.
(Primorsky) Kozemiako said the battle commander insisted that the deaths of the troops had been greatly exaggerated.
“I know first-hand that our fighters demonstrated real heroism and unprecedented courage in Pavlivka and during the entire special military operation. We inflicted heavy damage on the enemy.
Kojemiako said the complaint filed by the soldiers has been forwarded to the military prosecutor’s office.
Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a rare public response to criticism of the military operation in Donetsk, denying that its forces had suffered “heavy, senseless losses in people and equipment.”
Russia’s losses in the Wuhleder and Pavlivka region of Donetsk region “do not exceed 1% of combat strength and 7% of wounded, a significant portion of whom have already returned to duty,” the ministry said Monday, according to Russian state media. TASS reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fierce battle for Donetsk was “at the heart of the biggest madness of the occupiers” and denied Kozhemyako’s claims that Moscow’s losses were “not that big”.
“They are dying by the hundreds every day,” Zelensky added. “The ground in front of the Ukrainian positions is literally littered with the bodies of the occupiers.”
Noting that the governor is about 9,000 kilometers (about 5,500 miles) from the frontline, Zelensky said: “The governor can see very well how many soldiers are being sent from there and from his region to slaughter. Or he was simply commanded to lie.
Social media and drone videos in the past few days have shown scores of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles attacking around Pavlivka, which is 50 kilometers southwest of Donetsk and has been on the front lines for months.
The Ukrainian military has released footage showing two Russian T-72B tanks and three BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles hit by Ukrainian artillery and anti-tank systems, which senior officials say has repelled intense shelling in the area.
“The adversaries are losing the opportunity to implement their plans,” Oleksiy Khromov, deputy head of Ukraine’s General Staff Operations Directorate, said Thursday.