The claim was made by a soldier in an intercepted phone call and is further evidence of low morale and poor leadership in Putin’s army. Russian forces have sustained huge casualties since the beginning of hostilities in February. Ukraine’s army estimates that over 43,000 Russians have died with thousands more injured.
US officials believe that between 75,000 and 80,000 have been killed and injured.
The high death toll appears to have had a profound effect on the morale of Putin’s army.
Numerous reports have emerged of mass desertions and refusal to fight by front line troops.
Russian soldiers are said to be growing ever more resentful of their commanders, whom they accuse of abandoning them during the heat of battle.
Now, a group of disgruntled Russians appears to have decided to take matters into their own hands in a bid to force their officer to stand tall and fight with them.
In a phone call home, a soldier describes how another unit took their battalion commander prisoner.
He said: “They forced him to stay with them so he wouldn’t run away.
“It’s because they have a f*k load of 300s [wounded].”
Putin’s soldiers believe they are being used as cannon fodder and their commanders are happy to send them to the slaughter.
The contempt and resentment towards their officer class has been highlighted by the testimony of a former Russian contract soldier.
Social media user ChrisO, who describes himself as an independent historian, has been following the story of Viktor Shyaga.
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Mr Shyaga has recently returned from the front lines in Ukraine and is scathing in his appraisal of his battalion commander Major Vasyura.
He accuses the Major of being indifferent to casualties and of failing to lead from the front.
The contract soldier claimed his commander tried to motivate his unit by threatening to shoot off the legs of anyone who refused to fight.
He explained: “He said in front of the formation that he would shoot the legs of those who refuse to go and attack.
“I shouted at him from my formation that it was illegal, that it was lawless.
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“He didn’t respond with anything and moved on from the topic of shooting the legs.”
Mr Shyaga added: “If the battalion is going to attack, then the battalion commander needs to attack and not sit it out in a BTR or a basement.
“Our leadership as I understood didn’t care about us”.
In another intercepted call, a Russian soldier based in the Kherson region tells his mother about heavy loses and terrible deaths.
He said: “We have a lot of losses here, no matter what they tell you on TV.”