Not going well for the Russians ...
Russian soldiers from the Kirkenes brigade are said to have been killed in Ukraine
Russian forces, which are usually stationed just a few tens of kilometers from the border with Norway, have suffered heavy losses during the attack on Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian defense.
On Monday this week, the Ukrainian defense announced that Russian Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov had been killed. This is said to have happened in connection with fierce fighting around Chuhujiv east of Kharkiv.
Safronov led soldiers from Russia's 61st Marine Regiment. They are based in the garrison town of Sputnik east of Petsjengadalen, which is located just off the border with Norway in Sør-Varanger.
The regiment bears the name "Kirkenes", commemorating the Soviet liberation of East Finnmark in 1944.
The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reports that the 200th Motorized Infantry Brigade has also suffered heavy losses in connection with the fighting around Sumy and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.
This unit is located even closer to the border with Norway, not far from the monastery in Petsjengadalen.
Norwegian expert confirms
One of the units of the Pechenga Brigade is said to be more or less wiped out in the fighting against the Ukrainian forces.
The losses of the brigade from the border area with Norway have not been confirmed by Russia.
But Lieutenant Colonel Geir Hågen Karlsen at the Norwegian Defense College tells NRK that they have registered what he describes as "significant losses" in the departments that are usually located near the border with Norway.
The losses concern both dead and captured soldiers, but first and foremost in equipment. Karlsen emphasizes that this has not been 100 percent verified
Finnish Chief of Defense confirms
According to YLE, the Finnish Chief of Defense Timo Kivinen confirmed earlier this week that a significant part of the forces that are normally in the border areas with Norway and Finland, are now in Ukraine.
The large Russian losses have not been confirmed by the Russian side, although there are now reports circulating on social media that many soldiers and officers are returning in what is called Gods 200, coffins.
The Finnish journalist Jarmo Huhtanen is closely following the information that is now coming from the war zones in Ukraine. He writes that the Petsjenga brigade has lost some of the most modern equipment they have, intended for war in Arctic areas.
Often used in war
It is not new that units in the Russian defense from the border area with Norway are used in conflicts where Russia is involved.
Soldiers from the navy participated in the Second Chechen War, where they suffered heavy losses against the Chechen rebels.
There is a large memorial to those who fell in Chechnya just off the road between Kirkenes and Murmansk.
Eastern Ukraine and Syria
The Marines are also said to have taken part in the fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Parts of the Marines from Petsjenga are said to be in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, according to the Dumskaya website.
In 2016, they took part in the recapture of the Syrian city of Palmyra, which has been possible to document through photos that the soldiers themselves have posted on social media.https://www.nrk.no/urix/russiske-soldat ... 1.15885907