WORLD

Russian troops slam generals over ‘incomprehensible battle’ that reportedly killed 300 in Donetsk

Nov 9, 2022, 5:00 AM

Russian-backed military officials have said Ukrainian forces are weakening the Kremlin's offensive ...

Russian-backed military officials have said Ukrainian forces are weakening the Kremlin's offensive in the Donetsk region. Photo credit: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

(CNN) — Russian troops have denounced an “incomprehensible battle” in Donetsk after apparently sustaining heavy losses during a week of intense fighting in the key eastern region of Ukraine.

Moscow has been trying to break through Kyiv’s defenses around the town of Pavlivka for at least the past seven days, but it seems to have made little progress with as many as 300 men killed in action, according to an open letter published on a prominent Russian military blog on Monday.

The men of the 155th Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet Marines launched stinging criticism against a senior Russian official in a rare display of defiance, accusing authorities of “hiding” the number of casualties “for fear of being held accountable.”

The letter, purportedly sent from the front lines to a regional Russian governor, came amid Moscow’s shaky offensive in a region President Vladimir Putin claimed to have illegally annexed just over a month ago.

“Once again we were thrown into an incomprehensible battle by General Muradov and his brother-in-law, his countryman Akhmedov, so that Muradov could earn bonuses to make him look good in the eyes of Gerasimov (Russia’s Chief of the General Staff),” the men said in the memo, sent to the governor of Primorsky Krai.

“As a result of the ‘carefully’ planned offensive by the ‘great commanders’ we lost about 300 men, dead and wounded, with some MIA over the past four days.

“We lost 50% of our equipment. That’s our brigade alone. The district command together with Akhmedov are hiding these facts and skewing the official casualty statistics for fear of being held accountable.”

They implored Governor Oleg Kozhemyako: “For how long will such mediocrities as Muradov and Akhmedov be allowed to continue to plan the military actions just to keep up appearances and gain awards at the cost of so many people’s lives?”

‘The blood keeps spilling’

Russian military commentators have also criticized the army’s approach in Donetsk.

“The situation in Pavlivka has been discussed at the highest level for several days, and the blood keeps spilling,” Aleksandr Sladkov, a Russian military journalist working for All-Russian State Television and Radio, said on Telegram.

“Troops say that there is a dilemma now: exhausted units cannot be withdrawn without fresh ones being brought in. There are no fresh units and no possibility of withdrawal and replacement due the constant firing,” Russian military journalist Alexey Sukonkin, also posted on Telegram.

“Why did we retreat from Pavlivka and have to recapture it now?” Aleksander Khodakovsky, a Russian-backed commander from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, said in criticism of Moscow’s tactical approach to the region.

Khodakovsky said Russian troops had been using basements as defensive positions, which meant they had not seen a flanking movement by the Ukrainians.

“That’s why quite a few Marines, including company commanders, were taken prisoner then. Not because they were weak in spirit, but because they were held hostage by their organization of defenses,” Khodakovsky said, adding that Ukrainian reconnaissance troops had used high-rise buildings in nearby Vuhledar and cameras fixed to the top of mine shafts to guide artillery strikes.

“The defenders of Pavlivka will again be taken hostage. Supplies and rotations will be difficult, it will be impossible to move through Pavlivka,” he said.

CNN cannot verify how many soldiers signed the letter nor their ranks, but Governor Kozhemyako confirmed he had received a letter from the unit.

“We contacted our Marine commanders on the front lines. These are guys who have been in combat since the beginning of the operation,” the governor said on Telegram.

Kozhemyako added the combat commander had emphasized that the deaths of the (Primorsky) troops were considerably exaggerated.

“I also know at first hand that our fighters showed at Pavlivka, as well as during the whole special military operation, true heroism and unprecedented courage. We inflicted serious damage on the enemy.”

Kozhemyako said the complaint made by the soldiers had been sent 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 suffered “high, pointless losses in people and equipment.”

Russia’s losses in the area of Vuhledar and Pavlivka in the Donetsk region “do not exceed 1% of the combat strength and 7% of the wounded, a significant part of whom have already returned to duty,” the ministry claimed Monday, Russian state media agency TASS reported.

‘Epicenter’ of the battle

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fierce battle for Donetsk “remains the epicenter of the biggest madness of the occupiers” and refuted Kozhemyako’s claims that Moscow’s losses were “not that big.”

“They are dying in 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 was some 9,000 kilometers (around 5,500 miles) from the frontlines, Zelensky said: “The governor probably can see better from there how many military men and in what way are being sent for slaughter from his region. Or he was simply ordered to lie.”

Social media and drone videos in the past few days show numerous Russian tanks and other armored vehicles being struck around Pavlivka, which is about 50 kilometers southwest of Donetsk and has been on the front lines for several months.

The Ukrainian military released footage showing two Russian T-72B tanks and three BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles struck by Ukrainian artillery and anti-tank systems, with senior officials referencing repelled attacks of intense shelling in the area.

“The enemy is losing the opportunity to implement their plans,” Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of Ukraine’s Operations Directorate of the General Staff, said Thursday.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

World

A video recorded by Facebook user Larry Jacquez shows the police response following the shooting in...

Jamiel Lynch, CNN     

At least 3 people killed and 2 officers wounded in a shooting in Farmington, New Mexico, police say

Multiple people were shot and at least three killed in a shooting in Farmington, New Mexico, police said in a Facebook post.

11 months ago

Migrants seeking asylum in the US look through the border wall as volunteers offer assistance on th...

Nouran Salahieh

End of Title 42 policy brings fewer migrants than expected

Southern border communities report fewer migrants, but concerns remain about overcrowded processing and detention facilities.

11 months ago

President Camille Johnson, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter...

Mark Jones

Finding relief from life’s challenges with President Camille Johnson

General Relief Society President Camille Johnson spoke to KSL about her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ministry in Africa.

11 months ago

Bobi at his home in Conqueiros, Portugal, on February 12, 2023. Photo credit: Patricia de Melo More...

Zoe Sottile

Bobi, the world’s oldest dog, celebrates 31st birthday

Bobi, a Portuguese pooch declared the world's oldest dog by Guinness World Records in February, recently celebrated his 31st birthday.

11 months ago

EVERETT WALMART, EVERETT, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - 2023/04/19: An empty cart is seen near an emp...

Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

The real reasons stores such as Walmart and Starbucks are closing in big cities

Several forces are pushing Walmart and Starbucks out of some city centers: a glut of stores, people working from home, online shopping, exorbitant rents, crime and public safety concerns, and difficulty hiring workers.

11 months ago

2017 GMC Acadia crossover SUVs are revealed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in J...

Ramishah Maruf, CNN

US wants a recall of 67 million airbag inflators

NHTSA cited at least nine incidents of airbags manufactured by Knoxville-based ARC Automotive rupturing, leading to significant injuries or even death.

11 months ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Russian troops slam generals over ‘incomprehensible battle’ that reportedly killed 300 in Donetsk