Mobilized Russian soldiers have been moved from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to a different brigade after being the targets of their own allies’ aggression.
Vladislav Khovalyg, the governor of Tuva in southern Siberia, wrote on Telegram that the Russian Ministry of Defense approved a request to transfer the mobilized troops from DPR to the 55th brigade—which includes the majority of Tuva residents who were among the approximate 300,000 conscripted in September at the command of Vladimir Putin.
The request was made due to a militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic beating and threatening said soldiers earlier this month.
Russian troops were originally trained in the Novosibirsk region of Russia before fighting on the frontlines in Ukraine. Conscripted troops, through videos shared with Russian outlets and posted on Telegram, shared their peril.
“On February 4, the military from the DPR arrived. They fired at us with machine guns,” said the Russian troops from Tuva, Siberia, according to a Telegram post by the account Asians of Russia. “The military police came and beat us.”
Another video posted by the same Telegram account shows a Russian soldier being knocked down and held at gunpoint. The soldiers are donned in camouflage and gathered outside in the snow.
Meduza, a Russian- and English-language independent news website based in Latvia, reported that a voice behind the camera says that all of the soldiers were mobilized on September 29, 2022. They received three months’ worth of military training in Novosibirsk yet it entailed no frontline combat skills.
That same group was reportedly moved to Donetsk on December 29, and some were immediately moved to the frontline. Following the wounding of several soldiers, it was revealed they were not formally enlisted with any Russian military faction and therefore had no command.
“Since the end of October, [mobilized soldiers from Tuva] have been successfully fulfilling the tasks of a special military operation,” Khovalyg wrote on Telegram. “I am sure that the glorious traditions of our native motorized rifle brigade, which will soon be honorably called the guards brigade, will contribute to raising the morale of the mobilized.
“According to the existing requirements, the transition to the location of another military unit is not a quick matter. But I hope for a prompt decision,” he added.
He previously made a request for the Tuva soldiers to be referred to as guardsmen “like many of the great-grandfathers who fought against fascism in the Red Army.”
“Someday we will learn about all the exploits of each of the fighters of the 55th separate motorized rifle (mountain) brigade,” Khovalyg said in another Telegram post. “Now I can only say one thing: they are all heroes.
He added: “Our guys are highly valued in the army for their professionalism, courage and loyalty to the military brotherhood—and enemies are scared to death. This is the real guard.”
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense stated in an intelligence update that Russia’s highly likely to have been attempting a major offensive to reach the Donetsk Oblast borders since early January “but have only managed to gain several hundred meters of territory per week” due to munitions shortages and a lack of units.
The Institute for the Study of War made a similar assessment regarding Donetsk Oblast, one of four regions annexed by Russia via sham referendums, adding that the Kremlin signaled such preparations in December.
They lost steam, however, due to what the ISW said was a “time and space relationship” presenting a hindrance to Russia’s goal of rapid, large-scale operations.
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