There has been a steep increase in the number of mobilized Russian soldiers who are refusing to sacrifice their lives to the war effort in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian military.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s troops have expressed increasing dissatisfaction with being sent to the war’s front lines despite a lack of combat experience, with many of those refusing to “go to death” having been trained as security officers.
“There is a sharp increase in the level of dissatisfaction with the actions of the leadership among those mobilized for the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the post says.
“The main reason for dissatisfaction is the increase in Russian troops who were previously trained to serve in security units and lack any combat experience,” it continues. “This leads to a sharp increase in casualties, and the troops do not agree to go to death.”
A Ukrainian soldier is pictured on the left near the front line in the Donetsk region, Ukraine on February 27, 2023, while Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown on the right in Moscow, Russia on February 23, 2023. The Ukrainian military on Wednesday said that Putin’s mobilized troops were increasingly refusing to “go to death” as the war continues. ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP; PAVEL BEDNYAKOV/Sputnik/AFP
Wednesday also saw the emergence of a viral video that purportedly shows a platoon of Russian troops complaining about conditions and refusing to follow orders after being drafted to serve in the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
“Personnel are dying, this is all that is left of my platoon, of the whole company,” a soldier who identifies himself as a senior lieutenant says in the video, which has not been independently verified by Newsweek. “It is complete b*******.”
The video was the latest of many that apparently show dissatisfaction among Russian soldiers since Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
Similar videos that emerged this week include one that purportedly shows troops from Russia’s 5th Motorized Brigade directly appealing to Putin for more modern weapons while complaining about high causality rates, saying, “We are not meat.”
U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines predicted during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday that Putin would resort to drafting more troops to serve in the “grinding attritional war.”
Despite the escalating effort to capture Bakhmut, Haines also said that the Russian military was unlikely to make any “major territorial gains” this year due to repeated battlefield setbacks.
Meanwhile, one of Putin’s top propagandists advocated for Russia to adopt the brutal “methods” of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, arguing that Moscow should “retaliate ruthlessly and mercilessly” to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
“We are at war with terrorists and this must be very clearly understood,” said Russian state TV anchor Vladimir Solovyov. “And we must use the methods that were used during Stalin’s time.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.