A shocking video has shown Russian barrier troops appearing to execute their fellow soldiers as they attempt to flee the field of battle, Ukrainian sources have claimed.
Captured by a Ukrainian drone and posted to online messaging platform Telegram, the footage shows three Russian soldiers aiming weapons in the direction of at least seven comrades, and seemingly firing off rounds.
The brutal clip emerged as Ukraine stepped up its counter-offensive, with Kyiv’s forces claiming they have liberated at least four front-line villages – amid reports that Russian troops are being killed fleeing through their own minefields.
There have also been reports of Russian troops retreating as Ukraine breaks through Moscow’s defensive lines, with a number of other videos posted online appearing to show dozens of soldiers running across fields as they abandon their positions.
The latest clip was first posted to a channel called ‘Look for Your Own’, a project created with the backing of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs to share photos of Russian invaders captured or killed in Ukraine, to help their relatives identify them.
A shocking video has shown Russian barrier troops appearing to execute their fellow soldiers as they attempt to flee the field of battle
The 14-second video shows the three armed Russian soldiers appearing out of a treeline and confronting the retreating troops who are running towards them across an area of open ground, marked by vehicle tracks.
The fleeing soldiers appear exhausted, barely able to stand as it is. Some can be seen dropping their helmets to the ground as they see the trio appear.
It’s possible they were relieved to see fellow Russian troops, but that is not clear.
Quickly, however, the scene changes. The three Russian barrier troops push two of the fleeing soldiers back, and fire their rifles in the air as a warning.
Some of the fleeing soldiers drop to the ground and begin to crawl the other way.
But as they do so, the barrier troops appear to open fire.
The flash of a muzzle is seen about nine seconds into the clip, and two of the soldiers fall to the ground. They are not seen moving again in the footage.
One of the three barrier troops moves over to where the other soldiers were.
While it is not clear from the footage whether he opens fire, the soldier is seen aiming a rifle in their direction, and more of the fleeing troops stop moving.
As the clip ends, the three Russians are seen moving between the prone bodies on the floor, seemingly checking for any sign of life.
It was not clear from the footage whether the fleeing troops were killed, injured or just told to lie prone on the ground.
MailOnline was not able to verify the authenticity of the footage, with the Telegram channel only saying a ‘barrier unit’ had shot Russian military personnel.
Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN) said on Monday that it had confirmed the authenticity of the video, the Kyiv Post reported.
Barrier troops are units tasked with preventing soldiers running away from the field of battle, using lethal forces if necessary.
The 14-second video shows the three armed Russian soldiers (top) appearing out of a treeline and confronting the retreating troops who are running towards them across an area of open ground, marked by vehicle tracks
The fleeing soldiers appear exhausted, barely able to stand as it is. Some can be seen dropping their helmets to the ground as they see the trio appear. The three Russian barrier troops push two of the fleeing soldiers back, and fire their rifles in the air as a warning
According to the Kyiv Post, such troops have been deployed by Russia to Ukraine for months, as Moscow desperately tried to make advances.
Stalin’s Order No. 227: ‘Not a step back!’
During the first stages of the Second World War on the Eastern Front, the Soviet forces suffered from heavy losses – but also from mass retreat and desertion – as Nazi Germany advanced.
In an attempt to counter this, on July 28, 1942, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 227 – known for its line: ‘Not a step back!’.
The order commanded each front (or Soviet military formation) to create one to three penal battalions made up of 800 middle-ranking commanders and high-ranking commanders accused of disciplinary problems.
These battalions were sent to the most dangerous sections on the frontlines.
From 1942 to 1945, more than 422,000 Red Army personnel were sentenced to join penal battalions.
The order also established ‘blocking detachments’ at the rear, tasked with shooting ‘panic-mongers and cowards’ within the Red Army’s ranks.
In the first three months, blocking detachments killed 1,000 penal troops and sent 24,000 more to penal battalions.
Records from October 1942 show that 15,649 soldiers were picked up having fled the Stalingrad Front. Of these, 278 were shot dead.
By October 1942, the idea of regular blocking detachments were quietly dropped by Soviet leadership.
In November, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported that Russia had ‘probably started deploying ‘barrier troops’ or ‘blocking units’ in Ukraine.
It said this was ‘due to low morale and reluctance to fight’.
‘These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers in order to compel offensives and have been used in previous conflicts by Russian forces,’ the MoD added in its intelligence update at the time.
‘The tactic of shooting deserters likely attests to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of Russian forces,’ the update added.
Such reports also emerged from the Kremlin’s months-long assault on the eastern city of Bakhmut, which saw the Wagner mercenary group employ ‘human wave’ tactics in an attempt to overwhelm the city’s defences.
This resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, publicly threatened to execute deserters.
At least two Wagner deserters, who joined the Ukrainian side but were later captured by Moscow’s armies, were executed with a sledgehammer to the head.
It is likely the shocking ‘barrier troop’ practice will become even more commonplace as Kyiv’s counter-offensive continues, and Russia works to defend its positions.
There have been frequent reports about Russian soldiers suffering from poor morale as Ukraine inflicts heavy losses on Vladimir Putin’s armies.
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin used ‘barrier troops’ in the Second World War as part of his ‘No One Turn Back’ order.
While Ukraine’s troops are fighting to protect their homeland, Russians are battling on foreign soil in an invasion that many thought would be over in a matter of days.
According to Ukraine, Russia has suffered more than 200,000 casualties since Putin ordered the invasion on February 24, 2022 – a high attrition rate for what many only recently considered to be the second most powerful military in the world.
Jason Jay Smart, a political adviser on post-Soviet and international politics, told Newsweek that ‘Russians shooting their own troops has a long tradition in Russian military history, and it has been commonplace throughout this war’.
The trio of Russian barrier troops can be seen marching towards their fleeing comrades with their weapons raised. Some are seen falling to the floor
As the clip ends, the three Russians are seen moving between the prone bodies on the floor, seemingly checking for any sign of life
He said the incident captured by the drone footage, which he said shows ‘a total lack of concern or interest in preserving human life’, is the epitome of ‘how the Russian military thinks and behaves’.
Meanwhile, at least ten people have been killed and dozens wounded after missiles hit civilian buildings in an overnight attack in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, a regional governor said on Tuesday.
Serhiy Lysak, of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said the strike involving cruise missiles hit a five-storey residential building and the area was engulfed in fire.
Kryvyi Rih mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said that one person is still believed to be trapped under the rubble and 28 others were wounded.
The devastation in president Volodymyr Zelensky’s home town is the latest bloodshed in Russia’s war in Ukraine, now in its 16th month.
Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine’s ground troops said the country’s forces were ‘moving forward’ outside the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
Oleksandr Syrskyi wrote on Telegram that Russian forces are ‘losing positions on the flanks’ while Ukrainian troops were conducting ‘defensive’ operations in the area.
For weeks, Ukrainian officials have been reporting small gains west of Bakhmut, which was largely devastated in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle before Moscow’s forces took control last month.
Over the last day in Ukrainian-held areas of Donetsk, nearly a dozen frontline towns and villages came under increased shelling as Ukrainian troops pushed forward, Mr Zelensky’s office said.
Also on Tuesday, the Russian Defence Ministry published a video showing what it said was a German-made Leopard 2 tank and US-made Bradley fighting vehicle captured from Ukrainian forces.
At least ten people have been killed and dozens wounded after missiles hit civilian buildings in an overnight attack in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, a regional governor said on Tuesday
In this photo released by Dnipro Regional Administration, emergency workers extinguish a fire after missiles hit a multi-story apartment building in Kryvyi Rih
According to the ministry, the video was shot by Russian soldiers after fierce fighting in the southern Zaporizhzhia, and a soldier is seen pointing at the immobilised vehicles. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify the video’s authenticity.
Like the Bakhmut area, battle zones in Zaporizhzhia are one of several places along the roughly 1,000-kilometre front line where Ukrainian forces have been intensifying their counter-offensive operations.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed administration for parts of Zaporizhzhia that Russia controls, alleged that the Ukrainian counter-offensive had failed, and told state news agency RIA-Novosti that Ukrainian forces ‘continue to suffer colossal losses when they make new attempts to advance’.
He did not elaborate, and his claims could not be immediately verified.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.