Vladimir Putin’s Russian Army has been accused of using "disposable soldiers" in the war in Ukraine.
The claims come from a Ukrainian soldier on the frontlines in Bakhmut, who reckons Putin is throwing the unwitting men at their guns in an effort to turn his side’s fortunes around.
Speaking to AFP Yevgen, 38, said: “It’s horror over there. The ground is black like asphalt. Everything is destroyed.
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“There are bodies everywhere.”
Bakhmut has been the scene of vicious fighting between Ukraine and Russia for months.
Russia has largely been on the back foot in the war in recent months but has been hell-bent on taking the city.
With a reputation for salt mines and vineyards, Bakhmut is thought to be suffering at the hands of the infamous Wagner Group.
The brainchild of Putin’s pal Yevgeny Prigozhin, 61, Wagner has been playing an increasingly prominent role in the "special military operation".
Wagner is believed to have been recruiting from Russian prisons in recent months – inmates who are given the promise of freedom if they survive.
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But in the eyes of Ukrainian defenders, these men have turned into little more than “human bait”, they told AFP.
A 50-year-old Ukrainian soldier from the 93rd brigade, Anton, said: “It starts at around 6pm, when it’s getting dark.
“These soldiers – with no experience – are sent towards our guns and stay there for a few minutes.
“Their job is to advance towards us, forcing us to fire on them, to reveal our positions.
“After that, they fire artillery or send more experienced commandos towards our positions.”
He said around seven or eight are sent each night with most killed in the barbaric method.
Nicknamed Polyak, Anton said he once found one alive still the following morning.
He said they extracted the prison name of the prison he was from, Kopeika, and that he had joined Wagner a month beforehand.
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