A Russian soldier drove a tank over his commanding officer to protest the huge number of losses suffered by his unit in Ukraine, a Ukrainian journalist has claimed.
The claim followed footage allegedly showing Russian Colonel Yuri Medvedev being stretchered into a hospital after suffering severe injuries to his legs.
According to Roman Tsymbaliuk, who was said to have been the last Ukrainian journalist in Russia before fleeing the country in January, Medvedev was run over by one of his own soldiers who was angered by heavy losses suffered by the unit.
Pictured: A still grab from a video allegedly showing Russian Colonel Yuri Medvedev being stretchered into a hospital after suffering severe injuries to his legs. A Ukrainian journalist has claimed that Medvedev was run over by a tank driven by his own soldier
Tsymbaliuk said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the tank battalion of 1,500 troops had lost around half its strength to either death or injury.
‘A soldier, choosing a convenient moment during the battle, ran over his brigade commander, Colonel Yuri Medvedev, with a tank, injuring both his legs,’ Tsimbalyuk wrote in his report to his followers.
‘Medvedev is in a hospital in Belarus and has already been awarded the Order of Courage.’ He said the Colonel is now awaiting compensation.
There was no independent corroboration of the claim, but a video released by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – a close ally of Vladimir Putin – allegedly showed Medvedev being transported by medical troops to Belarus for hospital treatment.
One Chechen fighter – who are fighting under the Russian National Guard and directly under Putin’s control – told him: ‘Hold on…how are you? OK? Talk to us…
Medvedev replied: ‘I’m OK. Where are you from?’
There was no independent corroboration of the claim, but a video (pictured) released by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – a close ally of Vladimir Putin – allegedly showed Medvedev being transported by medical troops to Belarus for hospital treatment
According to Roman Tsymbaliuk (pictured), who was said to have been the last Ukrainian journalist in Russia before fleeing the country in January, Medvedev was run over by one of his own soldiers who was angered by heavy losses suffered by the unit
The video allegedly showing Medvedev being transported by medical troops to Belarus for hospital treatment was posted by the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov
The colonel was then told to keep wearing his bulletproof jacket, before being unloaded on a stretcher, with blankets covering his legs.
Tsimbalyuk did not say what happened to the soldier driving the tank, but the report follows several others suggesting low morale among Putin’s forces who have been making little progress in Ukraine.
NATO estimated on Wednesday that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in four weeks of war in Ukraine, where ferocious fighting by the country’s fast-moving defenders has denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought.
By way of comparison, Moscow lost about 15,000 soldiers in Afghanistan over 10 years.
A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian officials, what Russia has released – intentionally or not – and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO.
When Russia unleashed its invasion February 24 in Europe’s biggest offensive since World War II, a swift toppling of Ukraine’s democratically elected government seemed likely.
But with Wednesday marking four full weeks of fighting, Russia is bogged down in a grinding military campaign.
Pictured: A charred Russian tank and captured tanks are seen, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the Sumy region, Ukraine, March 7, 2022
Locals walk on a street between anti-tank Czech hedgehogs in the South Ukrainian city of Odesa, 16 March 2022
With its ground forces repeatedly slowed or stopped by hit-and-run Ukrainian units armed with Western-supplied weapons, Putin’s troops are bombarding targets from afar, falling back on the tactics they used in reducing cities to ruins in Syria and Chechnya.
Russia has released very little information on its casualties, saying March 2 that nearly 500 soldiers had been killed and almost 1,600 wounded.
However, a NATO official said today that 30,000 to 40,000 Russian soldiers are estimated to have been killed or wounded.
Ukraine also claims to have killed six Russian generals. Russia acknowledges just one dead general.
The figures from NATO represent the alliance’s first public estimate of Russian casualties since the war began.
The U.S. government has largely declined to provide public estimates of Russian or Ukrainian casualties, saying available information is of questionable reliability.
With casualties mounting and quick victory no longer in sight, Russia is having to work to suppress dissent and shore up morale.
It has arrested thousands of antiwar protesters and cracked down on the media.
Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia are seen atop of a tank during Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 15, 2022
Also, under a law passed Wednesday, troops in Ukraine will get the same benefits as veterans of previous wars, including tax breaks, discounts on utilities and preferential access to medical treatment.
In an apparent reflection of growing divisions in Russia’s top echelons, top official Anatoly Chubais has resigned, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency.
Chubais, the architect of Russia’s post-Soviet privatisation campaign, had served at a variety of top official jobs over three decades. His latest role was as Putin’s envoy to international organisations.
Peskov would not say if Chubais had left the country.
Western officials say Putin’s forces are facing serious shortages of food, fuel and cold weather gear, with soldiers suffering frostbite, while Ukraine’s defenders have been going more on the offensive – preparing to reclaim lost territory.
Still, Russia’s far stronger, bigger military has many Western military experts warning against overconfidence in Ukraine’s long-term odds.
The Kremlin’s practice in past wars has been to grind down resistance with strikes that flattened cities, killing countless civilians and sending millions fleeing.
Talks to end the fighting have continued by video. Zelensky said negotiations with Russia are going ‘step by step, but they are going forward.’
With no peace, those not yet fighting prepared to do so.
‘Everything’s a best-seller these days,’ said Zakhar Sluzhalyy, who owns a gun shop in the western city of Lviv. ‘We’re defending our land,’ he said. ‘We’re fighting for our freedom and that of the rest of Europe.’