More And More Russian Soldiers Refusing To Fight In Ukraine
Moscow: More than 11 weeks have elapsed since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to launch a military operation against Ukraine, yet the end of the war is still not in sight.
However, there seems to be growing disenchantment among Russian soldiers to continue fighting.
According to a report in The Guardian, soldiers of an elite Russian army brigade, who were involved in bitter combat with Ukrainian forces in the early weeks of the war, were reportedly unwilling to be deployed a second time last month because of fear.
“It was evident that many soldiers did not want to go to Ukraine. The commanders were initially angry over our refusal, but they came to terms with it later as they could not do much,” a member of the unit, who did not wish to reveal his name, was quoted as saying.
“I want to return home alive,” the soldier of a unit which entered Ukraine through Belarus, said.
The soldier, along with eight others, informed their seniors that they did not want to rejoin the invasion. He was then transferred to Belgorod, a Russian city close to the Ukraine border.
“I have served for five years and my contract ends in June. I will serve my remaining time and then I am out of here. I have nothing to be ashamed of… We aren’t officially in a state of war, so they could not force me to go,” he added.
His logic typifies the difficulties Russian army has been facing. Moscow, after all, has not formally declared ‘war’ on Ukraine and prefers to describe the invasion as a ‘special military operation’.
According to a lawyer, Russian troops who refuse to fight in Ukraine may be dismissed but cannot be prosecuted.
The scenario will change if Russia declares a full-scale war.
“During the war, regulations are different. Saying no would mean a higher degree of punishment,” the lawyer explained.
BBC Russian service reported that the defence ministry announced a plethora of vacancies in employment websites. Even people with no combat experience were invited to join the army on lucrative short-term contracts.
Government-run firms have been urged to convince their staff to sign up for the army.
Many of the soldiers on ground have been complaining that they are not being adequately cared for.
Some analysts are of the view that Russia may not be able to hold fort for too long if Kremlin doesn’t change its stance.