When Russian forces withdrew from the town of Balakliia in eastern Ukraine in late 2022, pursued by Ukrainian troops and under artillery fire, they left a poorly equipped group of volunteers to guard their retreat. 

The force of around 50 men came from the  National Army Combat Reserve — known by its Russian acronym BARS — a loose assembly of units totaling several thousand fighters that Russia's Defense Ministry has deployed in Ukraine to supplement its regular forces. 

About four hours of footage from a bodycam worn by one of the fighters, obtained by Reuters, provides a rare first-hand view of the combat operations of a BARS unit, according to three military experts who reviewed the video to provide an assessment for the news agency of the unit's military capability.