Russia must erase Ukraine cities 'from face of earth' says host
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Russian soldiers left thousands of documents at an abandoned base in Balakliia, a report has claimed. The documents, some of which were burnt in a furnace in the bunker, revealed key information about Russia’s chaotic retreat from Kharkiv in September.
According to Reuters, the documents also showed just how anxious Russian troops had become following the arrival of US-supplied HIMARS.
Following heavy bombardment from HIMARS rocket launchers which hit command posts, a Russian officer said: “It’s a game of roulette.
“You either get lucky, or you are unlucky. The strikes can land anywhere.”
Russian ranks were also hit by issues relating to deaths, desertions and combat stress.
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Two units, which accounted for about a sixth of the total force, were operating at just 20 percent of their full capacity.
However, documents found at the abandoned base also revealed that Ivan Popov served as Commander of the Military Grouping ‘Balakliia’ Colonel.
Photos from the command bunker suggest propaganda posters warned Ukraine would fall to Nazism if Russian troops left.
The bunker in Balakliia included a mixture of soldiers from Russia and Ukraine’s separatist Luhansk region.
A spreadsheet suggested there had been a huge pay discrepancy between troops from Russia and Luhansk.
A typical Russian sergeant was paid 202,084 roubles (£2,750) a month in salary plus bonuses.
However, a separatist sergeant received just 91,200 roubles (£1,205) a month.
Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in Balakliia on September 6 and only a crater and a pile of documents remained at the headquarters just a few weeks later.
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Documents indicated just how difficult Russian troops found it to combat Ukraine.
An unnamed officer on a daily briefing note from July 19 made a plea for drones to track the enemy: “Quadcopters!!! Urgent!”
Morale among Russian troops continued to deteriorate on July 24 as an officer noted that someone named Shtanko was a “bastard” and was facing disciplinary action for “pulling back his platoon”.
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