A group of desperate Russian women are walking towards the war frontline to rescue their mobilised husbands whose comrades have been “massacred” in Vladimir Putin’s conflict.
They accuse army chiefs of abandoning the men after “only around 30 men survived from a company of 200”.
“We have very bad weather. We are already frozen, and with fog, but we will move, we will not give up,” one wife, Svetlana Gorbatenko, who is pregnant, said. She wants to save her conscripted husband Artyom.
The mercy mission women are among 20 relatives in an extraordinary protest seeking to find their “shell shocked” men at the front in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region after travelling from their homes in the Voronezh region.
They want to take them out of the war and back to Russia, arranging their own transport, in defiance of the authorities.
“It wasn’t only our guys, husbands, who got in touch. The commander of the fourth company came out and confirmed that out of 200 men he was able to bring out only a few more than 30. He asks his leadership for help. They refuse to help,” a woman named Yulia said in a video.
The men — their husbands and sons — are survivors from a notorious fight in Makiivka, where up to 500 perished, it is believed. Separate figures suggest 159 survivors from four brigades in the latest catastrophic loss for Russian forces.
Russian commanders have been accused of using mobilised men as “cannon fodder” in Makiivka.
“We stop cars and tearfully ask them to provide at least a few cars to take our men out of there. Several groups are now on foot without bulletproof vests, or helmets, carrying the wounded with them. We beg them to give us a car so that they….pick up everyone who is there because the guys are undressed,” another woman said.
“If they don't help now, we are all girls, one of us is pregnant and a few men who are here, we will go ourselves to the front line. Because if they don’t help, then we will. The authorities just shrug their shoulders and do not want to help us. So we'll go help our husbands. There is no other option.”
The women are heading towards Starobelsk in the Luhansk region. But there are fears the men will be redeployed to a new area before they can walk and hitch their way more than one hundred miles to reach them.
Lyubov, the mother of one of the mobilised men, told Verstka that their loved ones had been classified as deserters after surviving the mayhem in Makiivka.
Her son was mobilised from the Voronezh region, after which he was sent to Valuyki, and from there to the front line, she said. The men were sent to fight by Putin’s army without proper training or weaponry, the woman claimed.
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