Russian troops from the Asian province of Buryatia, involved in a recent attack in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, were decimated by drone-guided artillery and mortar attacks captured on a brutal video recently shot by defenders, official Ukrainian military sources said on Tuesday with.

The video, produced by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, showed in graphic detail a failed attack reportedly attempted by Russia’s 37th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade, a formation deployed near Russia’s border with Mongolia, against positions belonging to Ukraine’s 58th Motorized Infantry Brigade.

In the drone images, a Russian tank column led by a mine-clearing tank driving across a field stops near a tree line, where Russian infantrymen jump out of armored vehicles behind the tank. On display are a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle and a BTR personnel carrier. Flight data from a video angle suggests that the Ukrainian drone that recorded the Russian attack was 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles) away at an altitude of between 90 and 100 meters.

Ukrainian military journalist Yury Butusov reported that the battle was recorded by a volunteer drone unit operating near the frontline village of Staromlinivka.

The Siberian unit’s attack was repulsed with heavy losses, Butusov reported. Other Ukrainian military information platforms identified the 37th Brigade stationed in Buryatia as the attacking formation – however Kiev Post could not independently confirm the identity of the Russian unit in the video.

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The footage shows more than 20 Russian ground fighters jumping out of vehicles and advancing toward a forest line, with some men firing their rifles.

A Ukrainian howitzer shell hits about 10 to 15 meters from the infantry, about 20 seconds after the soldiers leave their carriers. Shrapnel appears to have struck down at least two Russian soldiers and forced the others to prostrate.

The video stops and the next images show Russian infantrymen near the same spot, lying in open ground with little cover or concealment.

Several explosions typical of cluster munitions detonate between them. After another pause in the video, an MTLB light armored vehicle pulls up and unloads ten infantrymen.

A rocket-propelled explosive hits the left rear of the MTLB, and then at least 12 explosions, possibly from automatic grenades, explode between the soldiers and around the vehicle. The MTLB driver appears to back away from the location in a panic.

The armored tracked vehicle is shown running over at least three soldiers who were taking shelter underneath.

After the MTLB withdrew, four soldiers appeared to be lying on the ground, wounded and motionless. Two are being treated by doctors. Three soldiers can be seen crawling on the ground along the dirt path left by the MTLB. A limping soldier manages to get up and tries to follow the MTLB’s tracks, but falls back to the ground after two or three steps. He watches the armored vehicle drive away.

At the end of the video, Ukrainian mortar or artillery shells land near two MTLB tracked armored vehicles that appear to be stationary near the site of the Russian attack. One shot results in a direct hit on the MTLB’s engineering deck, setting it and a crew member on fire. Two other crew members, either dead or very seriously wounded, lie near the front of the MTLB. A second, immobile infantry transport is hit by an artillery or mortar shell at the end of the video.

According to open sources, the 37th brigade of Russia is stationed in the city of Kyakhta in central Siberia.

The Kremlin committed the unit to fighting at the start of its invasion in February 2022 as part of a failed offensive to capture Kiev and force regime change.

The brigade reportedly suffered very heavy casualties, more than 50 percent, while trying to flank the Ukrainian capital from the west. Ukrainian officials have accused some members of the unit of committing war crimes, including torture and murder, against dozens of civilians in the region – particularly in the towns of Motyzhyn and Bucha.

Ukrainian and international media have largely confirmed the fact that atrocities were committed against civilians during the Russian occupation of Kiev’s outskirts, but have not identified any culprits. In the Kiev region subsequently liberated by Ukrainian forces, Russian units from Chechnya, Buryatia and the Pacific coast gained a reputation as the most prone to attack civilians.

The Ukrainian news agency UNIAN published a video on Tuesday attributed to Russian military officer Andrei Stepanov. According to the report, he is an ethnic Buryat from the Russian city of Ulan-Ude who was recently captured after his tank hit a Ukrainian landmine, injuring him. According to him, he was hit in combat in the southern Urozhaine sector, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the eastern Staromlinivka sector.

At the 1:40 minute mark of the video recorded by his captors, Stepanov accuses the Kremlin of sending Buryat troops into attacks with no chance of success and using state-controlled media to suppress information about the near-total destruction of the units involved . The practice amounts to a Moscow-sponsored “textbook genocide” (Russian: натуральный геноцид) against the Buryats, he said.

“There are a lot of losses. Nobody talks about her. They (Russian military commanders) are trying to hide everything. Even corpses when I was wounded… there were entire warehouses filled with trucks transporting corpses day and night. I see what respect they (Russian commanders) show to our people, the Buryats… Of the reservists mobilized from Buryatia, probably 90 percent died,” Stepanov said.

According to research published in June by University of Exeter researcher Alexey Bessudnov, Buryats and members of the neighboring Central Siberian group, the Tuvans, are dramatically more likely to die fighting in Ukraine than members of an ethnic Slavic group.

“The two groups with the highest relative risks (RR ≈ 4) are Buryats and Tuvinians living in ethnic republics in eastern Siberia near the Russian-Mongolian border. As the relative risk shows, their share among military personnel killed is about four times greater than their share in the total population,” Bessudov wrote in findings based on open-source records from the Russian Federation on citizens killed in Ukraine.

Very high mortality rates among Russian troops across the Russian Federation are closely related to regions with low levels of education, income and economic development, Besssudov said.

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