Pro-Russian forces ‘may have tried to sacrifice own troops in to pinpoint enemy’
Ukraine forces say they found GPS positioning devices on seven pro-Russian “separatists” they captured
Ruthless mercenaries have deployed “sacrificial militiamen” to be taken prisoner in a bid to pinpoint Ukrainian troop positions when they get captured, The Daily Mirror can reveal.
Pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian troops were seized and taken to a secret location for interrogation – which was then bombed with almost pinpoint accuracy.
A battle-hardened Ukrainian paratrooper recalled yesterday of the soldiers: “They were all young, carrying AK47s and we captured them.
“Separatist forces had been trying to find our secret base so they could launch a mortar attack. When we found the bugs, we moved them quickly and our base came under massive attack.
“We don’t know why they were carrying the bugs but they led the mortar teams to where we were.
“It is possible they were not aware they were carrying the tracker devices and their own comrades were prepared to sacrifice them. It’s shocking.”
The elite paratrooper called Ivan – no surname given – is a Senior Lieutenant based on the frontline just 50 metres from President Vladimir Putin’s suspected “invasion force”.
Ivan, 30, has been fighting since 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea.
It remains in Ukraine but is occupied by Moscow. The separatists he mentions initially wanted their regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to separate from Ukraine and have since joined the Russian side.
Ivan believes the militia were duped into walking into the path of his patrol after the trackers were planted on them.
This war-battered former factory where he is posted, near the town of Avdiyivka, has been Ivan’s piano-wire tense home for nine months.
He lives in freezing, filthy conditions and will not see his wife Marina, 29, and two sons, for four months as he and comrades hold the line.
Sniper shots, mortar fire and grenades dropped from Russian drones can kill in an instant.
Buildings here are ruins, smashed by artillery, mortars and machine gun fire before Ukraine and Russia settled on their front lines.
Adding to the tension and danger in this hellscape are warnings of hidden anti-tank mines.
Troops sleep in dusty bunkers, awaiting the call to arms. That will come if Russia invades, triggering a deeper conflict that will bring war to Europe’s borders for the first time in decades.
Heavy machine gunners will hold back Moscow’s assault forces as reinforcements dash to the front.
Once these Russian positions were manned by separatists, including Chechen mercenaries.
But they have been gradually bolstered by Russian soldiers and crack Spetsnaz snipers.
It is a below-freezing First World War-style nightmare.
Stray dogs are the best alarm systems, despite today’s drones and other tech.
In exchange for food and pats, the hounds are encouraged to bark at non-Ukrainian troops.
Ivan says: “The dogs are good for morale and act as great alarms if the Russians sneak up to us.” Ivan and his comrades are elite British-trained paratroopers sent to guard the most strategic point along the 250-mile front line.
They have to light fires to keep warm inside factory ruins and can only hope the smoke disperses before the Russians see it and send over volleys of mortars.
A makeshift library of old books is nailed to a wall in their bunker for when they get a few hours’ rest from peering into periscopes.
Despite their professionalism, these soldiers are different from others we have met on the front.
They are younger, more alert, friendly though unsmiling, and on edge. Their minds are focussed on reacting fast if Russian troops pour out of trenches just 50 metres away.
They are absolutely committed to stopping Russia from getting further into Ukraine.