As many as 80 Russian soldiers were killed in a skirmish in Ukraine last month, despite the assertion of President Vladimir Putin that Russia isn’t fighting there, according to documents released by an opposition politician.
Telephone transcripts leaked to newspaper publisher and politician Lev Shlosberg detail members of an elite Russian paratrooper force discussing a battle near Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine. According to The New York Post, the story was related by one paratrooper to a fellow Russian soldier from a hospital bed where he was recovering.
“We’re f***ing walking along looking for these f***ing Ukrainians,” the paratrooper said, adding “We get out into the open and are seen, kapow!”
“We dashed out onto the road, there was a field, sunflowers, and a checkpoint,” he asserted. “They started to bomb it — bam bam bam — and they destroyed it.”
The paratrooper went on to claim that 80 men were killed by the Ukrainian attack, while only 10 made it out alive.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) September 17, 2014
The conversation is said to have taken place between members of Russia’s 76th Guards Air Assault Division, according to the Daily Mail. While Ukrainian officials claimed a skirmish with the unit occurred in late August, Russia has continued to assert that the battle did not happen. Ukraine has also claimed that it destroyed three of the division’s tanks, capturing two of their troop carriers.
Across Russia, there have been reports of secret funerals held for soldiers killed in Ukraine. Oksana Kichatkin, the widow of one of the soldiers, revealed her husband’s death on social media, though the post was later altered to claim he was alive. When reporters called her home, a man pretending to be Oksana’s husband answered. The soldiers cited in the transcript reference the incident in their discussion.
“If I found the guy who grabbed the phone away from [his] wife, I’d smash his face,” one claims.
— Canada at NATO (@CanadaNATO) September 18, 2014
Despite denials that a battle in Ukraine took place, Putin bestowed the Order of Suvorov, one of Russia’s highest awards, on the division last month. Putin cited the successful completion of military missions by the 76th division as justification. As The Inquisitr has previously noted, Putin’s supporters insist that Russia has not invaded Ukraine.
[Image via The Daily Mail]