Russia Allegedly Using Soldiers As “Cannon Fodder” In Kherson: As Russian forces attempt to maintain control over occupied territories in Kherson, Ukraine’s military intelligence claims that newly recruited Russian troops are being used as “cannon fodder” to reinforce lines of defense in the “annexed” region of Ukraine.
According to Major Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Agency, Russian forces are simultaneously attempting to reinforce the region while also removing its “occupied administration” from the area in anticipation of heightened military conflict in the region.
The use of Russian soldiers as cannon fodder is not a new concept. Troops recruited by the Wagner Group, a private military contractor frequently used by the Kremlin to assist its military in overseas operations, have been described as cannon fodder frequently throughout the conflict in Ukraine.
Andriy Yusov, an official representing the Ukrainian military intelligence agency HUR, told Ukrainian TV recently that the Wagner Group was deliberately using untrained soldiers as cannon fodder to provide cover during Russian military operations in Ukraine.
“We see that it is being used as ‘cannon fodder,’” Yusov said, adding that the troops being lured into combat were made up of convicts, including many convicts who suffer from diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C.
Budanov told CNN that Russian forces are “trying to remove and take with them all the remains of their so-called ‘occupied administration’ from Kherson city and surrounding areas.’”
At the same time, though, Budanov explained how Russian forces are “bringing into Kherson some new ‘cannon fodder’ from the newly mobilized Russian soldiers, getting ready for street fighting.”
Ukraine: Is the Battle for Kherson Coming?
The news comes after weeks of talk of a possible Russian retreat in Kherson in anticipation of a “battle for Kherson.” Ukrainian forces are understood to be preparing a new assault on the region, which led the Russian administration to advise as many as 60,000 civilians to leave the region last week.
Just days ago, Ukraine’s Major-General Budanov told Ukrainska Pravda that Russian forces are deliberately drawing the Ukrainian army into urban combat in the city of Kherson, and stated that the military is not following the civilians and administration leaders out of the region.
“They are not leaving right now. They are preparing to defend,” Budanov said. “They are creating the illusion that all is lost. Yet at the same time, they are moving new military units in.”
The Ukrainian official also accused Russian forces of looting Kherson and using the evacuation of civilians as cover.
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.