Ukraine’s General Staff reported Sunday that Russia has used a national guard unit to shoot soldiers who plan on deserting or surrendering to Ukrainian forces.
The Ukraine staff said in its daily briefing that Russia is using its Rosgvardiia force to shoot would-be surrenders “to maintain military discipline and prevent the spread of panic among personnel.”
Rosgvardiia is the national guard composed of about 340,000 soldiers mostly employed to handle internal conflicts within Russia. Rosgvardiia troops reportedly shot six Russian soldiers who’d intended on deserting, the report read.
Chechen special forces troops attend a training session at a “Russian University of Special Forces” training centre in the town of Gudermes, in Chechnya, on December 13, 2022.
Photo by AFP via Getty Images
U.K. intelligence reported in early November 2022 that Russia began deploying such troops along the Russia-Ukraine border as “barrier soldiers” to prevent Russian soldiers from retreating by the threat of shooting them.
This comes after Ukraine launched a hotline three months ago called “Hochu Zhit,” which translates to “I want to live.” This was more than a month before the Russian death toll hit 100,000, according to the Ukraine Defense Ministry.
Russia has lost more than 111,000 troops since the war began on February 24, 2022, according to Ukrainian officials. That includes 430 in the last day and more than 10,000 over the last two weeks.
“They are afraid. You can feel it. And they are right to be afraid. Because they are losing. Drones, missiles, anything else will not help them. Because we are together. And they are together only with fear,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Just one week ago, Zelensky said Russia has lost a lot in this war, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin will keep pressing forward.
“Russia has lost everything possible this year,” Zelensky said the day after Christmas. “But [Putin] is trying to compensate for his losses with the cunning of his propagandists following missile strikes on our country, on our energy sector.
“There are a few days left in this year. We must be aware that our enemy will try to make this time dark and difficult for us,” Zelensky said. “I know that the darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to their new defeats, but we must be prepared for any scenario.”
His Christmas message was a little more sobering, including saying there’s a loss of hope.
“Our houses and streets can’t be so bright. And Christmas bells can ring not so loudly and inspiringly. Through air raid sirens, or even worse – gunshots and explosions,” Zelensky said.
“And all this together can pose a bigger threat. It is a disappointment. Of the higher forces and their power, of goodness and justice in the world. Loss of hope. Loss of love. Loss of myself …”