Russia is using a “meat wave” strategy that sends scores of poorly trained soldiers to die on the front lines against Ukraine to clear a path for the Kremlin’s more valuable elite units — then abandons their frozen corpses on the battlefield.
The special-forces officer, only identified by his callsign, “Bess,” told the outlet that once the gunfire and drone strikes end, the bodies of the dead Russian soldiers “just lie there frozen.
“Nobody evacuates them, nobody takes them away,” he said. “It feels like people don’t have a specific task, they just go and die.”
Despite appearing to suffer heavy losses, the Russian army is still making steady progress in Avdiivka and elsewhere by overwhelming Ukrainian forces through sheer numbers before the Kremlin’s elite paratroopers and marines arrive for the final push in the heated battles.
The tactic is not without its detractors. The Ukrainian Post reported last week that the more elite Kremlin troops who follow the “meat waves” are opposing the strategy over concerns of mass Russian deaths.
More than 100 relatives of Russian soldiers also opposed the tactic, penning a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin last month after orders were issued to redeploy injured soldiers to the fight in Avdiivka, according to Important Stories, an independent Russian news outlet.
But the commander of a Ukrainian drone reconnaissance unit in Avdiivka said it is clear that the “meat assault” strategy has not stopped and is proving effective in the eastern Ukraine city.
“If we can kill 40 to 70 servicemen with drones in a day, the next day they renew their forces and continue to attack,” the commander told CNN.
The leader, who was not named, added that Ukraine could make progress against the invading Russian waves if weapon and ammunition supplies weren’t dwindling.
The commander’s comments came as soldiers stationed near Bakhmut acknowledged that their crews were running out of the ammunition needed for their US-supplied M109 Paladin Howitzer.
Russia, on the other hand, is quickly bolstering its own firepower and outpacing Ukraine’s supplies, with Moscow even using Soviet-era reserves to fuel attacks near the border.
“The ratio is about 10 to 1,” a commander told CNN. “Russia is a country that produces ammo and they have strategic reserves. Yes, they use old Soviet systems. But Soviet systems can still kill.”
Norwegian Gen. Eirik Kristoffersen also warned on Sunday that Moscow is building up its weapons stockpile at a rate far faster than previously predicted, widening the gap with Ukraine and threatening the spread of war to the rest of Europe.