Alexei Tabalov, a lawyer who heads up the Conscript’s School legal aid group, told The Associated Press this week how a large number of Russian troops are actively looking for ways to leave the military and stop fighting in Ukraine.
“We’re seeing a huge outflow of people who want to leave the war zone – those who have been serving for a long time and those who have signed a contract just recently,” Tabalov said.
It comes after the Pentagon this week confirmed that as many as 80,000 Russian troops have been wounded or killed on the battlefield, and as private military contractor PMC Wagner actively recruits prisoners to help replenish Russia’s dwindling number of troops on the battlefield.
Tabalov also told the press how it appears as though “everyone who can is ready to run away” and that the Russian Ministry of Defense is “digging deep to find those it can persuade to serve.”
Not only is the Kremlin relying on the support of private military contractors, but regional administrations are also reportedly forming “volunteer battalions” that are regularly promoted on state television, with volunteers being promised salaries that range between $2,150 and $5,500 per month.
This month, the Kremlin’s recruitment drive – which the Russian government denies exists – saw more than two dozen regions form 40 volunteer units made up of thousands of residents willing to assist the Russian military in Ukraine. The Russian government is also reportedly reducing its training requirements and offering large sign-up bonuses to men ready to fight.
Supply Lines Could Pose Next Challenge
As Russia struggles to find enough troops to ramp up operations in eastern and southern Ukraine, Kyiv has warned that the Ukrainian military is capable of attacking almost all of Moscow’s supply lines in occupied territory. Ukrainian officials revealed that a Russian ammunition depot close to the Antonivskiy bridge in occupied Kherson was struck by missiles on Friday, killing 11 Russian troops.
Natalia Humeniuk, a representative of the Ukrainian southern military command, revealed how almost all of Russia’s supply routes were now under “supply control,” meaning that Ukraine is capable of striking those locations using Western-supplied rocket systems.
“Our forces are controlling the situation in the south, despite the enemy trying to bring in reserves even though almost all their transport and logistical arteries have been hit or are under our fire control,” Humeniuk said on national television.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.