Kremlin furious as Russian army suffers ‘heavy losses’ after shelling own unit, regiment mistaken for Ukrainian troops

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Wednesday April 06, 2022 10:59 a.m.

The Russian Air Force has bombed several of its own troops in recent days, mistaking the location of its own military unit for the Ukrainian armed forces.

The Russian military mistakenly fired a missile at its own 38th Motorized Rifle Brigade, known as Military Unit 21720, according to various Eastern European media, including a Facebook post by the well-connected journalist Roman Tsymbalyuk.

The incident happened during a night flight and the pilots were reportedly unable to distinguish the positions of a Ukrainian army unit and unit 21720, firing a missile at its own unit accordingly.

After suffering heavy shelling casualties, the commander of the 38th Motorized Rifle Brigade, Colonel Andrei Kurbanov, turned to the commander of the Eastern Military District, Colonel General Alexander Chaiko, furious that most of his unit is dead.

“During the hostilities in Ukraine, the 38th separate motorized rifle brigade, or military unit 21720, Yekaterinoslavka, Amur region, suffered heavy personnel losses from its bombers, which at night could not distinguish its troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Tsymbalyuk wrote.

“After the aerial bombardment of their own positions, the commander of the 38th motorized rifle brigade, Colonel Kurbanov Andrey Borisovich, asked the commander of the Eastern Military District, Colonel General Chaiko Alexander Yurevich, to no longer supply him such air support” he wrote again.

The error reportedly provoked a furious reaction within the Kremlin, with President Putin threatening to “punish” those responsible. However, Russian state media or government officials did not admit, discuss or acknowledge the incident.

Destroyed Russian vehicles (Source; various Twitter accounts)

Russians urged to reject war

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has made a direct appeal to the Russian people to reject President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which he has called a “stain” on their country’s honour.

In a video message posted online, the Prime Minister urged Russians to download VPNs to enable them to circumvent Kremlin media controls and see for themselves the atrocities committed in their name.

His intervention came after President Volodymyr Zelensky used a dramatic address to United Nations security to accuse the Russians of the “most terrible war crimes” since World War II.

The Ukrainian leader called for the creation of a special tribunal modeled on the Nuremberg tribunals used to try key Nazis in order to bring those responsible to justice.

The Kremlin responded by saying that footage of civilians allegedly killed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha was “fake news” that was staged by the Ukrainians themselves.

However, the UK Ministry of Defense said analysis of satellite images from March 21 – when the town was still occupied by the Russians – showed at least eight bodies lying in a street.

In his message, Mr Johnson said the “atrocities” committed by Russian forces – including the rape and slaughter of innocent civilians – were so shocking that Mr Putin had deliberately sought to hide the truth from his people.

“Your president knows that if you could see what’s going on, you wouldn’t be supporting his war,” he said.

“He knows that these crimes betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly says goodbye to her son as he leaves to join the army.

“And he knows they are a stain on the honor of Russia itself. A stain that will only grow larger and more indelible with each day this war continues.

Mr Johnson said people only need a VPN connection to access independent information from around the world.

Speaking in Russian, he added: “Your president is accused of committing war crimes. But I can’t believe he’s acting on your behalf.

War crime claims

Mr Zelensky’s call for a war crimes tribunal was backed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who said President Putin and members of his inner circle could be charged with the crime of aggression .

“I think he could be charged very quickly because the evidence is clear about his planning, preparing and carrying out an invasion,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.

“That’s what we had to do in Rwanda, we had to do it in relation to Liberia. We have done this in relation to other countries also in Yugoslavia.

Zelensky

“You could issue an arrest warrant, not only for Putin but for a large part of his entourage who collaborated with him in these acts.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Liz Truss reaffirmed her intention to use a two-day meeting of NATO and G7 ministers starting Wednesday in Brussels to push for new sanctions against Russia.

US officials have said they expect to see coordinated action by Western allies, including a ban on new investment in the country.

Other measures are expected to include new restrictions on financial institutions and state-owned companies, and sanctions on government officials and their family members.

Following talks in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Tuesday, Ms Truss said economic actions so far were having a “chilling impact” and “pushing Russia’s economy back into the Soviet era”.

She said the West had frozen more than US$350bn (£266bn) of ‘Putin’s war chest’, rendering more than 60 per cent of the US$604bn (£459bn) unavailable. ) of the plan’s foreign currency reserves.

But she said they needed to do more by cracking down more heavily on Russian banks and “going after industries that fill Putin’s war chest, like gold, and agreeing a clear timetable to eliminate our Russian oil, coal and gas imports”.


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