Family members of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine recently posted a video in which they call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove their loved ones from the front lines.
The relatives spoke from a location in the Russian republic of Tatarstan in a clip originally posted on Telegram. WarTranslated, an independent media project that translates materials about the war into English, shared the video on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.
Monday marked the 600th day of the invasion that Putin launched on Ukraine in February 2022. According to the latest tally from Ukraine’s General Staff, Russia has lost more than 288,000 soldiers in the war, with around 6,000 of those losses coming in the past week. Newsweek has not been able to independently verify Ukraine’s figures, and other estimates tend to be more conservative than Kyiv’s.
The main speaker in the video posted by WarTranslated referenced the high casualty rate suffered by the Tatarstan battalion, saying it had experienced “colossal losses.”
The video opens with the speaker identifying himself and a group of people standing behind him that appears to number more than two dozen as being “close relatives” of the Russian military‘s 2nd Battalion of the 1234th Regiment.
“We’re begging to help and save our Tatarstan battalion. For two years, our battalion operated as territorial defense in the Svatove direction,” the speaker said, per WarTranslated’s phrasing. “As of today, a large part of the battalion is assaulting. The rest are waiting to be sent [to assault] any day.”
He continued: “They are taking colossal losses. Every minute, we receive information about the wounded and dead.”
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email for comment Monday.
According to the speaker, whose name was not given, the battalion from Tatarstan does not wish to disobey orders and is willing to defend Russia in the war against Ukraine. However, the relatives directly appealed to Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the mobilized Tatarstan fighters be moved away from offensive positions.
“The mobilized must be in defense, not on the zero line,” the speaker said, using the Russian term “zero line” for the front line.
The clip ends with the entire group shouting in unison: “Bring our men back!”
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank on Saturday reported of two other recent instances of Russian soldiers’ relatives making public complaints about the war.
Wives of servicemen in a tank regiment in the Kupyansk direction recently claimed to the Astra Telegram channel, which is a project of independent Russian journalists, that 42 troops from the unit were placed into a basement after a failed assault, according to the ISW.
The U.S.-based think tank also wrote that relatives of Russian “Storm Z” units—which are often comprised of former convicts—complained to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian service Sever Realii in a story published Saturday that Moscow officials have not been routinely returning the bodies of their family members who died in the war.