Ukraine, “hundreds of Russian soldiers refuse to fight. They can only be fired because officially it is not a war “

Hundreds of Russian soldiers they refused to return to fight in Ukrainea choice for which they cannot be condemnedbecause – for the Kremlin – that which has reached its 79th day is not a war, but a “special military operation “. The news, reported by Guardianhighlights the massive casualties reported by the president’s army, Vladimir Putinwho asked for help from the Wagner battalion.

The story – In early April, after serving in February, there elite brigade Russian of which it was a part Dmitri – member of the unit who asked not to be identified with his real name – fu recalled to the front for a second deployment in Ukraine. However, he and eight other comrades refused to comply with the order. The unexpected reaction caught the superiors off guard: “It soon became clear that not everyone wanted to fight. Many of us just didn’t want to go back, ”he explained to the British newspaper. “I want to go back to my family – continued the soldier, now stationed in Belgorod – and not in a coffin ”. THE commandersaccording to Dmitri, “they were furious. But in the end they calmed down because there wasn’t much they could do“.

The counterproductive law – “I served for five years in the army. My contract ends in June. I’ll serve my remaining time and then I’m out of here, ”she said. “I have nothing to be ashamed of. We are not officially in a state of warso they couldn’t force me to go”. According to Russian military rules, in fact, objectors – in this specific case – cannot be prosecuted, but only fired. Mikhail Benyasha lawyer who has helped soldiers opting for this alternative, told al Guardian that “hundreds and hundreds” from soldiers they contacted his team for advice on how avoid being sent to Ukraine. “Commanders try to threaten their soldiers with jail if they disagree, but we tell the soldiers they can just say no“, Said Benyash, who is currently unaware of any convictions against dodgers:”There is no legal basis for initiating criminal proceedings if a soldier refuses to fight while on Russian territory, ”he concluded.

The numbers – Dmitri’s story, similar to that of Sergey Bokov – a 23-year-old soldier who decided to leave the Russian army at the end of April – highlight a problem that could complicate the realization of the president’s plans Vladimir Putin: one severe shortage of infantry soldiers. The combat forces deployed on the war terrain initially – 150 thousand men – have suffered extensive damage. Moreover, the Ukrainian enemy is added to discouragement of troops: they too were certain that the conflict would not last long. “Putin has to make a decision on mobilization in the coming weeks,” he said Rob Lee, a military analyst. “In Russia there is a lack of ground units with contract soldiers for sustainable rotation. The troops are running out, they will not be able to maintain this for a long time ”. Unable to resort to recruits, the Kremlin has hired the Wagner battalion, mercenary troops close to Putin – for many one of its secret weapons, perhaps the most dangerous. Nevertheless, analysts they stated that this aid will not compensate for the losses suffered. For Andrei Kolesnikovsenior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment, i Russians “could be in favor of the conflict, but in reality they do not want to fight“, So much so that one general mobilization would involve “colossal losses of untrained soldiers “.

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