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Russian unit complains of receiving “criminal orders” and being sent into battle “to be slaughtered”

Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization are seen being dispatched to combat coordination areas after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Moscow, Russia on October 10, 2022. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

For the second time in a month, men who say they are with a mobilized Russian unit deployed to Ukraine have complained about their treatment and commanders.

The men are from regiment 1439, which comes from Irkutsk in Siberia. A group from the same regiment issued a similar protest in January. It’s unclear whether the new video includes men involved in the previous complaint.

In the latest video, published Saturday, the group claimed they had been given “unlawful and criminal orders” from their command and sent to battle without “any support.”

“We are the mobilized from Irkutsk oblast (region), regiment 1439, who were sent to the (self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic) from the city of Novosibirsk on December 31, 2022,” said a hooded soldier reading a message and surrounded by other soldiers.

“We ask for help in dealing with the unlawful and criminal orders of our command … the soldiers of the territorial defense were made into assault units in a single day and were sent to assault the Avdiivka stronghold — without any support from artillery, communications, sappers, reconnaissance — to be slaughtered.” 

Avdiivka is a hotly contested city close to the front lines in Donetsk

“DPR commanders are firing machine guns and infantry fighting vehicles at our mobilized soldiers because (they) refuse to join the assault units. There is no point in appealing to the local military prosecutor’s office since they are in full collusion with the commanders … At this point, this battalion has been almost completely destroyed,” the hooded soldier continued.

As the video nears its end, the soldier says the unit is in a “desperate position” because the DPR “commanders do not care” about their lives. 

Another video, also purportedly from men of the 1439th, circulated at the end of January.

In it, a group of soldiers said they were being threatened and fired at by their commanders for refusing to join the front line, and were being forced into combat without adequate support.

“Our command directly tells us that we are expendable. DPR commanders fire machine guns and BMPs at our mobilized soldiers because (they) refuse to join the assault units,” said a man dressed in a military uniform. The video was published on January 26. 

The man alleged that many in his unit were sent to the front line in assault groups without any training, and that two men died as a result, while 19 more were wounded. He also claimed the soldiers were paying for food and water from their “own pockets,” living in “complete disorder” and treating themselves for injuries. 

CNN cannot independently verify the videos, or whether the group are indeed soldiers from the 1439 regiment.

TVRain — an independent Russian outlet — said it received Saturday’s video direct from the soldiers.

CNN has asked for comment from the Russian Ministry of Defence.

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