Legion “Freedom of Russia” near Bakhmut area fight Wagner PMC, on the hottest front line. Continuous shelling, artillery from two sides.
A few non-professional observations:
First. After the mobilization, the situation with losses in the Russian army is catastrophic. And although Bakhmut it is the most difficult for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the ratio is approximately one of our defenders to four of their occupants. In general, on the front – one to ten. Having received reinforcements from mobiks, the Russian military leaders generally stopped protecting people. Throw them into battle without support, often almost hand-to-hand.
Second. The character of Wagner also changed. In the first months of the war, these were the most prepared units. Now, they are penal battalions. They are afraid of frostbite. These detachments are standing behind. But no longer professional.
Third. The Legion has gained strength. Now there are several autonomous groups of about 50-60 people at the front. This is a battalion. The second battalion is now undergoing training at the home. Preparations for the formation of the third battalion is underway. Legionnaires perceive the front as preparation for the future struggle already in Russia, and they train, including for urban battles (today, it helps in defense, tomorrow it will help in attack). The Legion also has several brothers-in-arms of the Ukrainians – mainly those who are engaged in training, rear guard, and headquarters organizations of the struggle.
There are three categories of Russians – those who went over to the side of Ukraine across the front line (there are both “defectors”, former prisoners, and those who came initially for such a transition); there are many Russians who arrived in Ukraine before February 24 for their own – usually family circumstances; but there are also political activists who came to Ukraine in a roundabout way after the invasion began. There are not very many of the latter – it’s not so easy. All Legion fighters underwent a thorough polygraph test and an interview with a military psychologist. The Legion did not accept all applicants. Now the queue for entry is more than 5 thousand people who have filled out detailed questionnaires (and the total number of applications is under 10 thousand), but of those who have reached the check, 2 out of 3 are weeded out due to the psychologists decision. In any case, the task now is to grow to several thousand bayonets.
In general, the psychological climate in the Legion is very sincere and informal. Mutual assistance and support – that is, they look like a group of friends. There are no ranks and no hierarchy inside. At the same time, it is alcohol dry area on the frontline. (the sale of alcohol is prohibited, but if you wish, you can always get moonshine – but most are not fond of this at all). Also a striking contrast with the Russian army.
The technical equipment is impressive. Combat control is conducted centralized where everything is controlled by drones. Journalists have been here and now the center has changed its location (a press tour is not typical). We had a short discussion with the Legion fighters on “February Morning” (the recording will be released next week), the guys promised to give us some exclusive videos about the fight against the enemy. According to objective control data, they destroy one to three dozen enemy soldiers every day. During the fighting, they themselves lost one killed soldier and three wounded (all are going to return to duty).
Fourth. One of the brightest impressions of the movement is at the frontline zone. The roads in the Bakhmut area are clogged with non-military equipment – the Ukrainian military and volunteers move quickly supplying the front.