Ukraine’s Kharkiv counteroffensive has taken the Russian army completely by surprise and sent shockwaves through the Kremlin. Russian troops have been routed in the northeast and are in full retreat, seemingly unable to stop Kyiv’s unrelenting onslaught. Panicking Russian soldiers are reported to be deserting and fleeing their units, as they seek refuge from the slaughter.
However, the behaviour of the deserters has enraged some elements within Putin’s army who decided to mete out rough justice on their fleeing comrades.
A Ukrainian drone caught the moment when a Russian Tiger military vehicle drove up to some troops, who were running away from the front lines.
Soldiers got out of the 4×4 Tiger and started to shoot their deserting comrades in cold blood.
Brigadier General Volodymyr Shvedyuk, a commander of Ukrainian units in the east of the country, described the chilling incident in detail.
He said: “Once our drone accompanied artillery fire. At that time, we gave the occupiers a good fight.
“So several Russian soldiers ran to their rear. We have seen this well online.
“A Russian Tiger drove up to them, from which their own soldiers got out.
“After a short conversation, the latter shot the deserters.”
He added: “They didn’t even think to take the corpses.
“All this was recorded on video, and everyone who saw it was simply amazed.”
Putin and his commanders are facing a major dilemma as they try to respond to the counteroffensives on two fronts.
READ MORE: ‘They set us up’ Putin’s propagandists turn on each other over Ukraine
Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War wrote: “The Ukrainian pressure in Kherson combined with the rapid counter-offensive in Kharkiv presents the Russians with a terrible dilemma of time and space.
“Russia likely lacks sufficient reserve forces to complete the formation of a new defensive line along the Oskil River, as it is reportedly trying to do before Ukrainian forces continue their advance through that position if they so choose.
“Prudence would demand that Russia pull forces from other sectors of the battlespace to establish defensive lines further east than the Oskil River to ensure that it can hold the Luhansk Oblast border or a line as close to that border as possible.
“But Russian troops around Bakhmut and near Donetsk City continue offensive operations as if unaware of the danger to Luhansk, and Russian forces in Kherson still face attack and the threat of more attacks on that axis.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin risks making a common but deadly mistake by waiting too long to order reinforcements to the Luhansk line, thereby compromising the defence of Kherson or ending offensive operations around Bakhmut and Donetsk City without getting troops into position to defend against continuing Ukrainian attacks in Luhansk in time.”