A battalion of Russian conscripts from Voronezh Oblast (Russia) was destroyed near the village of Makiyivka, Svatove district, Luhansk Oblast by a Ukrainian strike; hundreds of Russian occupiers were killed.
Source: Russian news outlet Verstka, citing the surviving Russian soldier and relatives of the conscripts
Details: One of the survivors, Russian serviceman Aleksey Agafonov, told Verstka about the losses among the conscripts as a result of a Ukrainian attack on the contact line near Makiivka in Luhansk Oblast. According to the soldier, the number of occupiers killed may exceed 500.
According to Agafonov, the commander of the battalion of conscripts, who were trained in military unit 2079, had promised that the soldiers would be brought to Svatove, where they would join the “territorial defence” 15 kilometres away from the front line. However, on the night of 2 November, the entire battalion was taken to the contact line and ordered to entrench and hold the line of defence.
Quote from Agafonov: “We were dumped into the forest and ordered to entrench; we had only three shovels for the battalion, and there was no support at all. We entrenched as best we could, and in the morning the [Ukrainian] attack started. [Ukrainian forces used] artillery, Grad MLRS, mortars and copters; we were just shot.
When it all started, the officers immediately ran away. In between the attacks, we tried to entrench, but the copters immediately spotted us and just shot us. Out of 570 people, 29 managed to survive, 12 more were wounded, and the rest are all dead”.
More details: Agafonov also added that before this incident, at least one other battalion of conscripts was destroyed at the same position.
“There is a beautiful picture on [Russian] TV, but in fact, here in Luhansk Oblast it is the conscripts who are dumped on the front line. When we were fleeing, we did not see any officers; when retreating, we saw that only contract soldiers and volunteers were on the third line, and draftees were directly on the front line,” he said.
According to Agafonov, conscripts from all over Russia are being brought to the Svatove area to close the gaps in the defence. In Svatove, where the survivors of Agafonov’s battalion retreated after the Ukrainian attack, there are “groups of 2 to 5 people” from other destroyed battalions who are just “wandering” around. He stated that the Ukrainian forces have cleared the entire territory where the conscripts fought.
Zlata, the wife of another conscript, told Verstka about the hundreds of soldiers killed. “Of course, more than half of them [conscripts] died,” she said, citing her husband.
The information gathered by Verstka was also confirmed by Lyudmila Chernykh, the wife of another conscript, who managed to survive.
“He [my husband] called me in the morning from someone else’s number and told me what happened, that they were left to dig the defence line, came under mortar fire, and somehow managed to get from Krasnodon to Svatove, where they are hiding. They are now afraid to go anywhere, they are even afraid to go to the checkpoints. Their commanders abandoned them, and they do not know what to do, they are just calling for help,” Chernykh said.
On 5 November, the relatives of several conscripts who had come under fire held a protest near the building of the Voronezh Prosecutor’s Office, demanding to be told the truth about the fate of their family members.
“They [authorities] tell us that our sons are safe and sound and are even performing their military duties. How the hell can they be safe and sound when all of them were killed there?” asked Oksana Kholodova, mother of the soldier Andrey Kholodov.
Anna, the wife of another draftee, told Verstka that the surviving conscripts are asking to be sent home. “They are being bombed there. No officers, no one is there… They were left like kittens, without training or anything. And my husband and I have a daughter, she is only 18 months old,” Anna said.
In addition, those present at the Prosecutor’s Office in Voronezh recorded a video message to the Governor, appealing for help.