Putin jailing thousands of Russian soldiers who refuse to return to frontline

Russia is jailing thousands of soldiers refusing to return to the frontline in Ukraine, showing the “poor state of morale” among those fighting in the “special military operation”.

In the latest update from the British Ministry of Defence, they reported on two Russian soldiers who were sentenced to at least two years in prison each for “refusing to obey orders” concerning their return to Ukraine.

More than 100,000 Russians have died fighting in Ukraine, with a further 180,000 wounded, and those figures are likely to rise as Ukraine’s counter offensive continues.

Express.co.uk reported this morning (August 30) that Vladimir Putin had raised the salaries of soldiers participating in the SMO to nearly three times the national average in a further bid to encourage mobilisation.

Alongside raised salaries and penal deterrents, the Russian State Duma, the lower house of government, has been offering short term contracts to younger soldiers and extensions to reservists to offset the losses on the ground.

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The British MoD update read: “On 25 August 2023, two Russian soldiers were sentenced to serve at least two years in a penal colony by a military court for refusing to obey orders to return to the front in Ukraine.

“On 18 July 2023 the Mediazona news outlet reported that Russia was convicting close to 100 soldiers a week for refusing to fight.

“If this trend continues, there will be approximately 5,200 convictions a year for refusing to fight.

“The high rate of convictions demonstrates the poor state of morale in the Russian Army and the reluctance of some elements to fight.

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“Refusal to fight likely reflects the lack of training, motivation and high stress situations Russian forces face along the entire Ukrainian frontline.”

But they added that low morale and high death tolls are unlikely to starve the Russian forces of their ability to continue a war of attrition as they aim to outlast Western investment in Ukraine.

Russia’s population is well over 140 million, excluding a variety of additional pools of fighters abroad, as well as private military companies such as the Wagner Group, and their ability to “commit a mass of poorly-trained soldiers to the frontline” is both plausible and effective in offsetting morale issues.

The MoD concluded: “Since Russia’s September 2022 partial mobilisation, Russia has adapted its approach to warfare by utilising sheer mass for offensive and defensive operations.”

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