Some units of the Russian army in Ukraine are refusing to fight, a report by the British government’s Defence Intelligence says.
“Refusal to fight likely reflects the lack of training, motivation and high stress situations Russian forces face along the entire Ukrainian frontline,” a Defence Intelligence post on X said. “Although some soldiers have refused to fight and attrition rates remain high. Russia likely mitigates their losses by committing a mass of poorly trained soldiers to the frontline.
The post continued, “Since Russia’s September 2022 partial mobilization, Russia has adapted its approach to warfare by utilizing sheer mass for offensive or defensive operations.”
Russia raised the maximum age of its conscripts in July to 30 in a bid to replenish its forces in Ukraine.
“From January 1, 2024, citizens aged 18 to 30 will be called up for military service,” the Russian legislation raising the age of Russia’s conscripts read.
Regional governors received the ability to establish their own paramilitary units.
Russian Soldiers Blackmailed into Joining Ukraine War
A captured Russian soldier told his Ukrainian interrogators that he was blackmailed into joining the Russian army. He was told that he would either join the army or be convicted of drug abuse in a rigged court proceeding. He noted that the Russian army faces a “significant number of desertions.”
The soldier noted that he signed an army contract on July 13, 2022 after being told that his criminal record would be expunged and that he would be paid a sum of 200,000 rubles ($2,093); however, he received 37,500 rubles ($392) instead.
“For two weeks, I was stationed in Budenovsk at the training grounds. I didn’t receive instruction in tactics or medicine. I frequently returned home, spending a day or two there, then 2-3 days at home. Not everyone was granted this liberty,” the Russian POW said. “The instructors rarely allowed soldiers to go on leave to visit their families. They claimed that if they let 50 soldiers go, they would eventually have to hunt down 40 who wouldn’t return. There was a significant number of desertions.”
The POW noted that he received an officer’s rank due to his higher education background despite a lack of training.
“My battalion commander intended to bestow an officer’s rank upon me due to my higher education,” he said.
He was captured by Ukrainian forces after those in his unit fled.
Ukrainian Intelligence: Russian Morale is Low
Communications intercepted by Ukraine’s intelligence service, the Ukraine Security Service (SBU), suggest that Russian soldiers are demoralized. In one allegedly intercepted communication reported on by The Daily Beast, a Russian soldier was heard complaining that casualties were higher than in the Chechen war 20 years ago.
The soldier alleged that members of Vladimir Putin’s national guard, the Rosgvardiya, were fleeing to Russia along with the Russian special police known as the Omonovsty.
“We don’t … need them. They’re returning [home] because they’re staging revolts, they don’t want to go any further. All these … special forces, our fighters, dammit, backtracked… and they refuse to go further,” the soldier allegedly said.
Russia views its men as cannon fodder in Ukraine. When one unit refuses to fight the Russian army replaces it with another. Putin evidently believes he can burn through his population with impunity.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
From the Vault