Russian soldiers have been pictured stripped nearly naked and forced into a pit near the frontlines in Ukraine exposing chaos among Vladimir Putin’s forces.
WarTranslated, an independent media project that translates content about the Russia-Ukraine war to English, posted a clip on X (formerly Twitter) that showed the soldiers in a pit.
Captions on the video, translated by the organisation, purportedly come from the spouse of one of the men in the video.
The reason given for the bizarre punishment was that the soldiers refused to fight without proper equipment. The video could not be independently verified.
According to WarTranslated, a soldier in the pit said that his commander told the lot that in order “to get out, they need to pay up 400,000 rubles (around £3,500). These particular men spent four nights in the pit completely naked.”
The account added: “Russian servicemen are stripped naked and put into pits for refusing to go into meat assault without proper equipment. To get out, they need to pay up to 400,000 rubles.”
War Translated added that the soldiers can be thrown in the pit for no reason if “leadership doesn’t like them,” citing one soldier’s wife.
It added: “Likewise, she said that to go on leave, one needs to pay the officers 200,000 rubles in cash. Otherwise, they’ll never leave the zero line.”
Zero line is a term often used in Russia to describe the very frontline or the battlefield. At the end of the video, the captions say the soldiers could even be buried alive in the pit.
This isn’t the first time Russian soldiers have been recorded refusing to fight. Putin’s generals have begun using so-called Storm Z units to attack in human waves at the front where they suffer huge casualties.
These units are often made of released prisoners or soldiers who refused to fight or were facing disciplinary action.
The news comes as Russia presses attacks in eastern Ukraine, suffering heavy casualties for little territorial gain. Since mid-October, Kyiv has noted the ferocity of the attacks around the destroyed settlement of Andriivka.