RUSSIAN backed militias have reportedly deployed “sacrificial militiamen” into Ukraine in a bid to locate and destroy covert military bases.
A separatist squad fighting Ukrainian troops were said to have been captured and taken to a secret location for interrogation which was mysteriously blown up at almost pinpoint accuracy.
The suicide tactic came to light when some of the squad were reportedly found GPS positioning devices that could then locate and direct fire on bases they were taken to.
One Ukrainian paratrooper told the Mirror: “Separatist forces had been trying to find our secret base so they could launch a mortar attack.
“When we found the bugs, we moved them quickly and our base came under massive attack.
“We don’t know why they were carrying the bugs but they led the mortar teams to where we were.”
It comes as Russian snipers and army intelligence officers have been staging war games in the snow as Vladimir Putin stokes fears of a winter invasion of Ukraine.
Reconnaissance troops have been seen in action on snow vehicles rehearsing combat against a simulated enemy in extreme conditions below minus 10C as Russia continues to mass troops on the border with its neighbour.
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The Arctic training in Murmansk region comes as tensions in Eastern Europe are at boiling point with Vladimir Putin estimated to be amassing about 150,000 troops close to the Ukrainian border.
The war games involved “destroying” foes with Kalashnikov rifles and Makarov pistols, according to Zvezda TV, which is owned by the Russian defence ministry.
A defence spokesman said: “Particular attention is paid to training military personnel for operations in low temperatures, deep snow cover, strong winds and polar nights.”
Sergei Kondratyev, commander of the motorised rifle brigade of the Russian Northern Fleet, shooting from snowmobiles is a compulsory part of combat training.
He said: “Winter is such a difficult time of the year, especially if you are driving over unfamiliar terrain — you do not know what can be under snow.”
Describing the exercise, the TV channel said: “Motorised riflemen instantly dismount and repulse the enemy.
"Operating under heavy fire, the unit still manages to get close to the ambush site.
Particular attention is paid to training military personnel for operations in low temperatures, deep snow cover, strong winds and polar nights
“The ‘saboteurs’ are first surrounded, the disarmed — and destroyed.
“Practical shooting drills are held in the brigade at least once a week, but mobile crews operate daily.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said: ”We continue to monitor the situation in Russia and Ukraine of course.
"We haven't seen any significant changes in the posture of Russian forces arrayed around the Ukrainian border.
"They are still there in large numbers."
Russia has demanded so-called security guarantees from the West over Ukraine not joining NATO, and curbs on missile deployment in eastern Europe.”
Yesterday Russia demanded strict limits on the activities of the US-led Nato military alliance in Eastern European countries.
It denies it was planning to invade, but wants Nato to rule out Ukraine and others ever joining the alliance to defuse the situation.
On Thursday, Yuliia Laputina, Ukraine's minister for veterans affairs, said Russian aggression could lead to a new world war.
She told Sky News: "If Russia invades you know, you should also take care about the Balkans.
"What Russians are doing now in Serbia – they try to provoke a situation in the Balkans.
"But we also take into account [the beginning of] World War Three."
On the subject of World War Three, she added: "Yeah. Because geopolitically, it looks like this is a possible scenario.
“So… we should pay attention to the Ukrainian issue because of the security of the continent.”
"This — the spreading of war in case of Russian invasion to Ukraine — will be much wider than Ukraine."
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