Russia's deadly mercenary murderous Wagner group has accused Ukraine's armed forces of using human shields in a grimly dubbed "meat grinder" battle.
Putin's specialist gang has been battling Ukraine for control of the destroyed Bakhmut area for months.
It was named the Battle of the Meat Grinder due to heavy losses suffered by both sides, as well as the swathes of people slaughtered by the Wagner group.
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But they have now come out and claimed that Ukraine is using civilians as human shields to try and fight Russian soldiers.
According to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti, one of the commanders made the claim after taking part in fierce fighting in the obliterated city centre.
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He claimed that Ukraine was not actually fighting Russia, and had only managed to hold on to the area by using alleged human shields – which he claimed Russia would never shoot at.
Speaking anonymously, he said, via Russian translation: “Speaking about the preparation of the Ukrainian army for defense, we come to the conclusion that it did not exist at all.
“Somewhere there are trenches, some small firing structures.
“I think they decided to simply close it all with human resources.
“The 'Bakhmut meat grinder' name is because the Ukrainian army defends Artemivsk (Russian for Bakhmut) with living people, human shields.
They didn’t use the trenches, everyone was sitting in the houses, hiding – there was practically no resistance, the guys jumped in and occupied everything.”
No evidence to back up the claims was given, and no further information on how exactly Ukraine was using human shields was provided either.
According to official Ukrainian figures, Russia has lost 178,820 soldiers on the front line.
However, official Russian statistics from the Ministry of Defence of Russia claims that they have actually only had 1,351 soldiers killed in action during the more-than year-long fighting.
The Daily Star has reached out to the UK's Ukrainian Embassy for a comment.
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