Members of an elite Russian paratroop force talked about the brutal battle near Luhansk, a city in eastern Ukraine, in telephone transcripts leaked to politician and newspaper publisher Lev Shlosberg.
“We’re f——g walking along looking for these f—–g Ukrainians,” one paratrooper says in an account reported by the Sunday Times of London.
“We get out into the open and are seen, kapow!” the paratrooper says.
“We dashed out onto the road, there was a field, sunflowers, and a checkpoint,” he continues.
“They started to bomb it — bam bam bam — and they destroyed it.”
“Eighty guys were killed,” said the paratrooper, who was wounded in the attack.
He added: “I was told only 10 made it out.”
He related the story to a fellow soldier in a phone call from a hospital where he was being treated.
In the recorded conversation, a second paratrooper asks: “Did they warn you straight away where you were off to?”
“Gradually,” answers his friend.
“I knew where I was going and told my wife straight away: ‘Am off to war’.”
“What did they tell you, why are you going there?” one paratrooper asks.
“They don’t tell us anything. They say we are off on an exercise…” comes the answer.
The dialogues were reported to have occurred between members of the elite 76th Guards Air Assault Division, which is based in the city of Pskov.
Shlosberg owns a newspaper there.
Ukrainian officials reported a skirmish with the 76th Guards in mid-August.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on its website that its troops destroyed three of the unit’s tanks and seized two troop carriers.
Russia denied the skirmish took place.
But despite the denials, last month President Vladimir Putin bestowed one of Russia’s highest awards, the Order of Suvorov, on the division.
He cited 76th Guards Air Assault Division’s “successful completion of military missions” and “courage and heroism” — odd words for a country that claims it is at peace.
Shlosberg’s newspaper reported in August on the funerals of two 76th Guards paratroopers, Leonid Kichatkin and Alexander Osipov.
Kichatkin’s widow, Oksana, announced her husband’s funeral on her social media page.
When reporters began asking about her husband, the post was replaced with one claiming he “is alive and well.”
And when reporters called the Kichatkin home, the phone was answered by a man pretending to be Oksana’s dead husband.
The paratroopers in Shlosberg’s transcript served with Kichatkin, and confirmed that he died fighting in Ukraine.
They also talked about why someone posed as Kichatkin on the telephone.
“If I found the guy who grabbed the phone away from [his] wife, I’d smash his face,” says one.
Thugs attacked reporters who visited the cemetery where Kichatkin and Osipov are buried.
Thugs also attacked Shlosberg on Aug. 29 after his newspaper reported the mens’ deaths.
Across Russia there have been reports of secret funerals for soldiers killed in Ukraine, the Sunday Times says.
At least 400 Russian servicemen have been killed or wounded in the fighting, according to estimates by the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, an independent group set up in 1989 to protect the rights of conscripts involved in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Shlosberg’s political party, Yabloko, issued a statement saying the attack on him “is the direct consequence of the state propaganda mobbing people with a different point of view and labelling them enemies and ‘the fifth column.’”
Source: New York Post