Russia claims 7 British mercenaries killed in Ukraine
The Russian defence ministry has made an extraordinary and unproven claim that it has killed seven “giant British fighters” in Ukraine. In a video published by the ministry’s TV channel, three soldiers can be seen describing their perilous journey through a 500-yard minefield while avoiding tank fire with limited munitions, before crawling up behind the British soldiers, launching grenades and ultimately conquering their positions. The bizarre claim contained no verification – neither documents nor bodies have been provided, while the location of the attack was omitted – and has been widely discredited by military bloggers.
The ministry’s TV channel showed footage of trenches and testimony from Russian servicemen, but no hard evidence.
The alleged British “mercenaries” were “twice the size” of Vladimir Putin’s fighters, according to the Zvezda channel.
It said: “In a battle for a stronghold, Russian servicemen destroyed a group of British mercenaries.
“A six-man assault team from the Central Military District (CMD) stormed an enemy stronghold.”
A fighter in the video, whose face is largely covered, said: “It was unexpected for them. We appeared from the direction they didn’t expect.
“We were crawling against their positions along the minefield. We threw grenades at them….”
He claimed: “All of them had British chevrons. They were taller and larger than us. One of the guys was twice my size. Nearly all of them, all seven of them, were really big.”
The Russians portrayed themselves as heroes for using their limited stock of ammunition to kill more heavily armed foes.
The channel subsequently claimed that using drones the Russian reconnaissance personnel uncovered the location of Ukrainian fortified positions in a forested area.
After that, they boasted that soldiers of the assault squad, under fire cover of tanks, crossed more than 500 yards of mined terrain and crawled up to the positions of the enemy, where a fierce battle broke out.
The version is strongly disputed, even among Russia’s own supporters. Pro-Kremlin Ukrainian blogger Anatoliy Shariy said the veracity of the claims was undermined by the fact the Russian video showed “no mercenaries”.
“There were ordinary fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and it is strange to imagine that all seven servicemen on the site were British,” he said. “If they were British – show their documents.”
Russia claimed they were British based on them being “healthy” and “taller than us, bigger than us”. The chevrons supposedly on their uniforms were not shown.
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Mocking the claim, Shariy said: “I think if they are healthy, then they are Dutch, not British. Or Vikings and Scythians.”
Russia has often made the claim that Western fighters are operating in Ukraine as it spouts the version that Putin’s forces are now engaged against the ranks of NATO.
The only information supporting this came from a US intelligence leak dated March 1, 2023, and made public in the last fortnight, alleging that 5o British special forces fighters were in Ukraine, though the UK MoD urged caution in interpreting these papers.
A spokesperson said in a message posted on Twitter: “The widely reported leak of alleged classified US information has demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy. Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread disinformation.”
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