As hundreds of Russians die each day in Ukraine, trainee reservists openly referred to as “meat” by their commanding officers are protesting against being sent to the frontlines on Vladimir Putin’s behalf, opting instead to revolt, refuse and even take their own lives. In a video of a group of troops from Kaliningrad, a small Russian exclave that borders Poland to the west of Ukraine, the soldiers can be heard shouting that they would prefer to be imprisoned for refusing to fight than be sent to the frontlines because “at least we’ll be alive and not throwing the rest of our lives away”.
Roughly 65,000 Russian soldiers have died during the year-long invasion of Ukraine, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, while at least 130,000 additional soldiers have been severely wounded, military analysts have told Express.co.uk, many of which will have returned to Russia.
News of this devastation appears to have made its way back to Putin’s reservists, catalysing an already prevalent unease among the trainee soldiers in Russia that in Ukraine, their only destiny is death.
Ever since Putin announced the “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 military reservists on September 21 last year, mobilisation camps have been fraught with protest, panic and all-out mutiny.
In the latest videos of the domestic turmoil, it has been claimed that Russian soldiers are now resorting to taking their own lives to avoid fighting in Ukraine.
The soldiers stationed in Kaliningrad told their commander that one man had “blown his brains out” after finding out that a “whole company” of his comrades had died in a week in Ukraine.
The soldiers said: “One man went outside, sat on a bench, pointed the gun and blew his brains out.
“He was walking, saying ‘I’m ****ing sick of it, ****ing sick of it. Have you seen that pool of blood?
“He wouldn’t go into assault [on the frontline]…and instead pulled the trigger. Is that normal?”
Regarding their own lives, the Kaliningrad reservists said they were “better off going to f***ing jail” than fighting on the frontlines.
They said: “We are sent to certain death. For who, for what? You don’t want us to refuse [to fight]…? We better go to ****ing jail. Put everyone in jail, we’ll stay there.
“No-one will go there [to the frontline]. How long is it [in jail]? 5, 7 years? 10? We don’t give a ****. At least we’ll be alive and not throwing the rest of our lives away.”
They claimed that their compatriots were dying in huge numbers because they were being sent on senseless assaults with no support.
In Bakhmut, Donetsk, where the Russians have invested scores of their soldiers in attempts to take the city, often using human wave attacks in World War I style trench warfare and no man’s land advances, seven of Putin’s troops are believed to be killed for every one Ukrainian, with some other estimates suggesting the ratio is even more catastrophic.
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The waves of mutiny are not contained to Kaliningrad either, with other videos from Irkutsk Oblast, to the north of Mongolia, showing Russian trainees complaining they are being “sent to [the] slaughter”.
The soldiers said: “We are being sent to assault fortified districts without any support of the artillery and heavy guns… In one word, we’re sent to slaughter, under mortar fire and artillery…”
Others from Siberia were filmed saying: “We were forced to assault villages, untrained, and with the average age of 40…. Without reconnaissance, without communications, without anything…We don’t know the maps, this is complete bull****.”
While Putin continues to wage his war in Ukraine, without much ostensible success, the Kremlin may now be forced to focus on discord within its own ranks before it looks to launch further offensives.
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