Russian Soldiers Blown Up by Own Mines Responding to Fake Call: Official

Russian troops were blown up by their own mines while responding to a fake call from pro-Ukrainian partisans early Monday morning, according to Mariupol officials.

The deaths come after more than six months of fighting as Ukraine continues to defend itself against the invasion that was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24. Putin claimed the invasion was to "liberate" the separatist Donbas region from Ukrainian control. The invasion has been met with worldwide condemnation over skepticism over the justification, concerns about Ukrainian sovereignty, and reports of human-rights abuses from Russian soldiers.

Despite Moscow having one of the world's largest armies, it has largely failed to achieve its major goals in Ukraine, who have offered a spirited defense. Ukraine continues to fight back against Putin's military, including in places Russia successfully took earlier in the war such as Kherson, where Ukraine launched a counteroffensive on Monday—and Mariupol.

At about 2 a.m. Monday morning, a group of Russian troops on patrol in Mariupol received reports that "Azov" fighters were hiding inside a home on the outskirts of the city, the Mariupol mayor's office wrote in a Telegram post.

Russian soldiers set off own mine: official
Above, Azov Regiment soldiers are seen in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on June 23. Pro-Ukrainian partisans used a fake report of Azov soldiers in Mariupol to lure Russian soldiers to a home, where they set off their own mines early Monday morning, a Ukrainian official said. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Mariupol, a city in southeast Ukraine, saw weeks of intense fighting throughout the war as both countries fought for control over the port city that is also home to the Azovstal steel plant. The Azov Regiment, which fought to keep the city in Ukrainian hands, has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Kremlin—making any lingering soldiers in Mariupol a target for Russian forces.

However, the reports Russian troops responded to were not legitimate and were created by a pro-Ukrainian group, though it was unclear exactly who created the message, according to the Telegram post.

"The result is one occupier minus a leg and a hospital in Donetsk. One occupier sings with Kobzon," the Telegram post reads. "The most piquant detail is that the occupiers blew up their own mines, which are ignored by the people in that area and by the spies. They were ignored, but we took advantage."

The defeat of Russian troops is a rare victory for Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, who have suffered great losses in recent months. Ultimately, the Kremlin successfully besieged the city, much of which was either destroyed or heavily damaged during the fighting. Among issues city leaders will have to continue to deal with for the foreseeable future is a cholera outbreak caused by mass burials. Cholera is a potentially deadly bacterial disease.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.