In case anyone needed additional proof of just how grim and merciless the invasion of Ukraine has become, contributors to a few Reddit subreddits have helpfully provided new evidence. Yesterday, a video was posted featuring footage from a purported Ukraine drone as it hovers over, then drops a grenade near a Russian soldier as he tries to empty his bowels – immediately generating bountiful commentary, none of it sympathetic.
That weekend post was, of course, only the most recent visual example of just how effectively consumer or other small non-military drones have been used with much success in Ukraine as reconnaissance, intelligence, situational, and even attack assets against Russian forces. Some have filmed pinpoint aerial grenade drops through enemy vehicle sunroofs, artillery strikes of positions identified by small UAVs, and a compound blasted shortly after an enemy soldier had defiantly flipped one of the spying vehicles the bird.
Production of videos demonstrating those remarkably effective and diverse drone capabilities in delivering careful-what-you-wish-for reminders to invading troops has become something of a cottage industry amid the fighting. Sunday’s offering, however, took that combination of deft tech repurposing and heavy schadenfreude messaging to an entirely new, excruciatingly personal level.
The 27-second video takes in a dirt clearing on the edge of low-growing foliage where a soon to be sorry Russian soldier has squatted to do his digestive business without the benefit of cover. After assuming the appropriate position for such outdoor activity, the trooper prepares himself for deliverance – which comes at the 18th second of the footage in the form of a dropped grenade exploding two or three meters to his left, blowing him to his side.
The film – which uploaders named in various ways, the least censor-prone of which is the prosaic “A Ukrainian drone dropping a munition on a Russian soldier trying to take a dump” – ends with the stunned and possibly injured Russian rolling on his back, and finally working to hoist his cammo pants up and over his black bikini briefs.
That last detail, even more than others in the film, motivated the speculation of many Reddit commentators that Putin’s man in uniform may now regret surviving the blast now that his intimate brush with death is online.
“Would you want your buddies to find you dead wearing that weird thong looking thing,” asked xlDirteDeedsix.
“I like how first instinct was to get his underwear on,” noted spOObs. “My ass woulda booked it before round 2.”
“Imagine being the drone operator, being presented with this target,” added the appropriately named kakapo88. “His/her finger must have been twitching on the bomb-release button.”
Though the video generated over 1,700 comments in short order, none elicited much sympathy – unless it served as a vehicle for mockery. While several contributors did discuss how the footage fit in with others demonstrating the many successful uses of consumer drones in support of Ukraine forces, most that strayed beyond the main activity occupying the Russian soldier underlined his nearly fatal tactical decision to pursue it without cover or backup.
“WHERE IS YOUR BATTLE BUDDY,” asked (most emphatically) AnimalMother-1.
“I normally don’t really feel bad at these but for some reason in this case I do,” added Hegario in what turned out to be an empathetic head-fake. “Maybe it’s because my dog always used to look at me with pleading eyes when he was taking his dump, so I would guard him at his weak moment.”
In Homage to Catalonia, Spanish Civil War volunteer George Orwell describes his refusal to shoot a fascist soldier he’d sighted across enemy lines while he was relieving himself – his logic being basic decency did not justify exploiting certain humbling human situations even in the persecution of war. In this conflict, combatants caught (literally) with their pants down will not only pay for it, but can expect video of it to be online before the day is out.