Troops drafted to fight for Vladimir Putin’s forces are going into battle wearing the uniforms of dead or wounded soldiers, according to the Ukrainian military.
The Luhansk Oblast’s military administration said on Tuesday some of those conscripted to fight for Russia were given uniforms that have the “personal belonging of their previous owners,” who were dead or wounded.
“Equipment that is being sent to the so-called ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ can be purchased at local markets,” the update said, according to pro-Ukrainian news outlet Pravda.com.
Luhansk was among the four Ukrainian regions Putin claimed on September 30 that Russia had annexed, although subsequent referendums supposedly cementing Moscow’s claims have been rejected internationally.
The Russian Foreign Ministry building is seen behind a social advertisement billboard showing Z letters – a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine and reading “Victory is being Forged in Fire” in central Moscow on October 13, 2022. Ukraine’s military has said that Russian troops who have been mobilized are receiving the kit of soldiers who have been killed or wounded.
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty Images
The claims by Ukraine’s military, which Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry about, come following a huge number of complaints about Putin’s draft which he announced in September.
With the stated aim of enlisting 300,000 reservists for his invasion of Ukraine, the draft has been beset by claims from recruits and their families about a lack of equipment and training, as well as promised payments not materializing.
Following Putin’s announcement, there was an exodus of Russian citizens trying to avoid the draft, which also sparked nationwide protests.
The Russian government has said that at least 50,000 of the recently drafted are now in Ukraine, but there are reports of discipline issues. Some families have complained that troops who face charges of desertion are being held in basements in occupied Ukrainian territory.
The Astra Telegram channel, which is a project of independent Russian journalists, said 300 mobilized Russians were being held in a basement in Zaitsevo, Luhansk, for refusing to return to the front line.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has rejected rumors that it would announce another wave of mobilization, following a claim by the Ukrainian armed forces that a “covert” draft was underway.
Partial mobilization in Russia ran from September 21 to the end of October. While the Kremlin has said the draft is over, many fighting-age men are still hiding in fear of being conscripted.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, via Tass, “there are no discussions” about another mobilization, which has been discussed by pro-Russian military bloggers on social media, and other analysts.
Last week, the U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that “covert mobilization efforts” would further strain an “already overburdened Russian force” which would mean “even lower quality training for both mobilized recruits and conscripts.”
Putin will meet with mothers of mobilized troops as part of the country’s Mother’s Day celebrations on November 27, newspaper Vedomosti has reported. Peskov gave no further details about the meetings. » …