RFE/RL’s Siberia branch Sibir.Realii reports that untrained mobilized Russians from the Irkutsk Oblast were sent to storm Ukrainian fortifications near occupied Donetsk as part of the first and second battalions of the 1439th Regiment. Almost all of them were killed from February 28 to March 1.
On March 3, relatives of two mobilized soldiers told journalists that nearly the entire regiment was destroyed: several people were wounded and the rest were killed but are considered missing.
“My son called me back – he was wounded and in the hospital. He says there is nothing left of the regiment. Only two wounded are known so far, the rest are either dead or left there in serious condition. He will be given only a week! Then they’ll throw him back to the front line!” said the wife of one of the mobilized men.
On February 27, the mobilized soldiers made their third appeal to Vladimir Putin, complaining about the actions of the command of Russia’s proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
According to the soldiers, they are sent to attack without reconaissance, communications, and artillery support, and when they complain that the mobilized “cannot fulfill the order,” they are threatened with prosecution for desertion.
The appeal gives an example of threats: “If will be sent away under the article on desertion, you will get into trouble with the commandant’s office and the military police, we will disband you two by two and send you on an offensive from which you will not return.”
Sibir.Realii notes that those mobilized have no military training: they are construction workers, drivers, and managers. Many of them are over 40 years old with chronic illnesses.
The mobilized claim that the command evacuates only soldiers of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” with light injuries. The seriously wounded and killed are left at their positions because they are “afraid of losing their equipment.” The killed Russians are considered missing, but the wounded are still evacuated once a day on stretchers.
The journalists add that the military police detained a deputy commander from the political part of the regiment with the call sign “Skelya” who tried to explain to the command that “yesterday’s drivers, welders, furniture makers, and scrap metal workers cannot belong to an elite unit of assault troops and do not have the skills for this.”