Russian President Putin’s war in Ukraine seems to become more and more like a historic mistake by the day. And now, it seems Putin did not give his newly drafted troops the ammo for the weapons they would need to fight. How much worse could things get?
Russian soldiers drafted to fight in Ukraine say they have no ammo, no commanders, and don’t know what they are doing on the battlefield.
The claim came from a six recently-drafted men in a video circulated on Telegram, which featured in a report by the independent Russian outlet The Insider.
(The Insider is a Russian news outlet and has no affiliation with Insider.)
In the footage complained directly to the Russian Ministry of Defense about their lack of direction and equipment.
The group, per the report, said they were from Russia’s Krasnodar region and had been called up towards the beginning of the mobilization announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 21.
After training, the men said, “it turns out that we’re somewhere in the fields of Ukraine and they just threw us out into the field like dogs,” according to The Insider.
They also said they were only equipped with uniforms and were given some AK-47s and bayonets – but no ammunition.
“There is no information, no command, we’re on pins and needles, as we don’t know where our people are and where [the enemy] is,” one man said in the video, The Insider reported.
“No radio, no ammo, not a fucking thing. No medical supplies either,” he added. “I’d like to show this to our authorities … Do you consider this normal?”
Insider was unable to independently verify the video.
The report comes more than a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of his country’s military reservists.
It tallies with other reports pointing to poor training and equipment issues among mobilized Russians.
Marina Miron, an honorary research fellow at the Centre for Military Ethics at King’s College London, told Insider’s Sinead Baker last week it was likely that “some of those mobilized have been sent to Ukraine without any guidance or training whatsoever.”
Last week, Putin said that around 16,000 mobilized men had already made it into combat in Ukraine. Many experts have concluded the men are effectively being used as cannon fodder.
Lack of equipment is also an issue in the Russian military, with one draftee telling The Guardian last week that he was made to buy his own gear.
“They gave us absolutely no equipment. The army has nothing,” the draftee told The Guardian.
Sophia Ankel is a News Reporter based in London for Insider, where this appeared. She also has bylines in the Guardian, The Independent, and VICE. Sophia has spoken about her work on BBC Three Radio.