Russian soldiers drafted for the war in Ukraine were told they would not face combat, per the NYT.
Many were swiftly killed after being sent to the frontline with little training and equipment.
A drafted Russian soldier bemoaned “the destruction of the Russian people by their own commanders.”
Russian soldiers drafted to Ukraine were told by their commanders that they would “never see combat,” only to be killed in battle shortly after, according to a new investigation by The New York Times.
In September, about seven months into the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of the country’s military reservists.
Some 300,000 were called into action and given the same status as regular soldiers, Insider reported previously.
Drafted members of Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade told The Times that their unit consisted of factory workers, truck drivers, and a former barista, some of whom had shockingly little experience with firearms.
They severely lacked food and equipment and had no maps, medical kits, working walkie-talkies, or enough bullets.
However, they said they were not afraid because their commanders reassured them that they wouldn’t be in actual combat, according to The Times.
A drafted Russian soldier told the paper about a day in October when he witnessed many of his fellow soldiers being killed near the eastern Ukrainian town of Pavlivka. Out of the 60 members of his platoon, he said about 40 were killed, with only eight escaping serious injuries.
“This isn’t war,” Mikhail told the paper from a military hospital outside Moscow, “it’s the destruction of the Russian people by their own commanders.”
After the chaotic call-up of Russian conscripts, there were widespread reports of minimal training for the new soldiers, and many were reported to have been killed within weeks of arriving in Ukraine.
The Times investigation detailed Russia’s failures throughout the ongoing conflict based on interviews with Russian soldiers and Kremlin insiders, obtained documents, and intercepts.
The investigation painted a bleak picture of the inner workings of Putin’s botched invasion, from the battlefield, through the Russian command structure, to its most senior leaders.
The latest revelations about drafted soldiers being misled echo previous reporting on Russian soldiers being duped about the invasion.
In September, The New York Times published dozens of audio recordings of Russian soldiers in Ukraine complaining that they had been “fooled” and did not realize they were going to war.
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