A Russian soldier’s killing of a wounded comrade highlights the ‘brutal culture’ rampant inside Russia’s military, war analysts say

    Russian Army soldiers ride their armoured vehicle to take positions and fire from flamethrowers toward Ukrainian positions at an undisclosed location in Ukraine in a photo released by Russia’s military in April 2024.

    Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

    Recent drone footage shows a Russian soldier killing a wounded comrade in combat.Experts say the incident highlights violence and disregard among Russian forces.Similar past incidents suggest a deep-rooted issue with discipline and internal violence.

    Drone footage showing a Russian soldier shooting a comrade hurt in combat highlights the “brutal culture” of “callous” behavior in the Russian armed forces, war experts say.

    “The attempted or deliberate killing of a fellow soldier is unprofessional,” experts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported in a June 23 assessment.

    ISW analysts noted there have been many instances showing “a callous disregard for the lives of Russia’s own soldiers throughout the war thus far, both within Russia and amongst Russian troops on the battlefield.”

    From high-casualty human wave frontal assaults that have been characterized as “meat assaults” to war crimes to videos of a defector being beaten to death with a sledgehammer, there have been numerous incidents.

    Last October, the US condemned Russia’s treatment of its own forces as “reprehensible” and “barbaric,” with National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying Russia continues to have “no regard for the lives of its soldiers.”

    In this photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on April 15, 2024, Russian soldiers participate in a military exercise somewhere in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.

    Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP

    Another apparent example of such brutality was posted to Telegram on Saturday and depicts a Russian soldier shooting and killing a fellow Russian service member at point-blank range who was injured in a first-person view drone strike.

    The Russian soldier who pulls the trigger, ending his comrade’s life, noticeably does not attempt to evaluate the wounded servicemember, treat the injuries, medically evacuate them, or even collect their identification. They simply move on afterwards.

    Business Insider was unable to independently verify the details of the video, including the extent of the wounded soldier’s injuries.

    ISW experts said there have been other instances of fragging, or the deliberate killing of fellow soldiers, often a superior officer, among Russian forces. In 2022, for instance, Russian soldiers ran over a commander with a tank following a streak of losses against Ukraine.

    “Fragging is generally indicative of extremely poor discipline amongst troops, a disconnect between tactical level commanders and their subordinates, as well as a blatant disregard for human life,” the experts noted. The situation goes deeper, though.

    Russia has faced criticism for its mistreatment of wounded soldiers in the past, and there continue to be concerns. Russian military bloggers recently reported that injured troops with the 1st DNR Slavic Brigade are being held in “prison-like conditions” in Donetsk City without proper treatment.

    “The fragging incident and the milblogger claims against the DNR command are indicative of a very poor culture within the Russian military, particularly the command’s disregard for their subordinates and a generally low level of discipline,” ISW experts concluded.

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