Russian soldier films harrowing before and after scenes in trenches

Slaughtered on the ‘dance floor’: Russian soldier films comrades partying and dancing in the trenches in Ukraine… then videos the scene a month later as his friends all lie dead

  • The shocking clip splices together two videos – before and after trench attacks
  • The group were seen partying in their dugout – weeks later they all lie dead 

A Russian soldier has revealed the dark reality of life on the frontlines in Ukraine by capturing the aftermath of an assault on his trench near Bakhmut just weeks after the unit threw a party in celebration of their arrival.

The shocking clip splices together two videos – the first of which was posted on September 12 and shared on a Russian Telegram group. In it, a fresh-looking army unit is seen laughing as they crack jokes while singing and dancing to upbeat pop music. 

Their clothes appear clean and crisp, and the dugout is well stocked with food and bottles of wine. 

But moments later, the video shifts to a second clip, posted on 19 October, and the footage presents a very different scene. 

A lone Russian soldier stands in the ruins of his trench surrounded by the bodies of his comrades and splinters of branches from trees torn apart by heavy fire. 

‘Good morning,’ he says quietly. ‘The guys are lying here. One here, there’s a second one… in short, it’s absolutely f***ed. 

‘I feel sorry for the guys, lying here like this. There are two more up the road,’ he adds, before the deafening blast of nearby artillery rings out and startles him. 

‘Rest in peace… they died like heroes,’ he says solemnly before cutting the video.  

A fresh-looking army unit is seen laughing as they crack jokes while singing and dancing to upbeat pop music

The men are seen drinking and standing arm in arm as they sing along to tunes in the trench

Weeks later, the trench is seen utterly devastated with debris, spent weapons – and bodies – littered across the scene

A Russian soldier who filmed the clip said the situation was ‘absolutely f***ed’

Bitter fighting has endured in and around Bakhmut for more than a year, with the industrial centre in Eastern Ukraine proving to be one of the bloodiest battlefields in the wat so far.

Russian forces on Monday pressed their attacks on two frontline areas near to Bakhmut, seeking to sever the sole supply route into the devastated city of Avdiivka and advance on the key town of Kupiansk farther north.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said its troops had repelled about 10 Russian attacks on Avdiivka in recent days.

Vitaly Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration, said there were round-the-clocks strikes on Avdiivka’s town centre and on the sole road used to bring in supplies.

‘A very difficult situation with supplies, with 22 km (15 miles) of road constantly under fire, day and night,’ Barabash told Radio Liberty.

‘This complicates evacuation and delivery of aid. The enemy is trying to cut it off. Any movement is a signal to open fire.’

Barabash said roughly 1,600 residents remained in the town, down from a pre-war population of about 30,000. Most of those remaining had no wish to leave, he said.

Avdiivka has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance after months of attacks. 

It was briefly captured in 2014 by Russian-backed separatists who overran large stretches of territory in the east, and Ukrainian forces have erected solid fortifications in the intervening nine years.

President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to those defending the town in his nightly video message, saying: ‘Their resilience is the strength for all Ukraine now.’

General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukrainian ground forces, described conditions along the entire 1,000-km (600-mile) front as ‘challenging’. 

He singled out Bakhmut, seized by Russia in May after months of battles, and Kupiansk, both northeast of Avdiivka, for facing the greatest difficulties.

A resident is seen after shellings in the frontline city of Avdiivka as Russian-Ukrainian war continues in Avdiivka

Ukrainian service members of the 55th Separate Artillery Brigade fire a Caesar self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk region

Ukrainian servicemen of the 59th Separate Motorised Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fire a BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket system towards Russian troops near a front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of Avdiivka

A view of damaged buildings after shellings in the frontline city of Avdiivka as Russian-Ukrainian war continues in Avdiivka, Ukraine on October 17, 2023

‘The enemy is sustaining significant losses, primarily in terms of personnel, but is constantly replenishing its forces by bringing in reserves, including from Russia,’ Syrskyi told the UNIAN news agency.

Local officials also said Russian forces had again shelled areas in the southern Kherson region that are under Kyiv’s control. 

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for more than 800 children, they said.

Russia has focused on gaining control of the eastern Donbas region, made up of Donetsk and Luhansk cities and surrounding areas, since failing to move on Kyiv in the early days of its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. 

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June this year in both the east and south, making much slower progress than it did in its lightning advance through the northeastern region of Kharkiv a year ago.

Russian accounts of the fighting on Monday made no mention of Avdiivka for the third straight day. 

It said Russian forces had repelled three attacks outside Kupiansk and a further 10 near Bakhmut.

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