Russians are calling Ukraine to surrender before even being drafted into the military as moral within Putin’s ranks collapses, Kyiv has claimed.
Andrii Yusov, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said men who are fearful of the draft have been getting in touch with a surrender hotline to check how to give up safely before they are called to the frontlines.
Meanwhile videos have emerged showing a newly-recruited tank commander who has been told he will deploy to the Kherson frontline in just two days without so much as firing a shot on a training range.
More footage captures two troops sitting in a field in Ukraine and complaining that they have been abandoned by their commanders without food or water, and that they would be better off fighting for the other side.
Kyiv’s generals claimed to have killed 550 Russian soldiers in the past 24 hours after conscripts began arriving on the front, underlining the meat grinder that Moscow’s rag-tag reinforcements are being thrown into.
A newly-conscripted Russian tank commander complains that he and his crew have been told they will deploy to Kherson within two days having been given no training
A Russian soldier claiming to already be in a foxhole in Ukraine says he and his comrade (right) were abandoned with no food or water and are being shelled
In footage posted online, the tank commander says: ‘The officials have told us that there will be no training prior to us being sent to the conflict zone.
Our commander officially confirmed that we’ll be sent to Kherson on the 29th September. Make your own decisions about what to do with that moving forward…
‘There’s been no training whatsoever – no shooting, no theoretical training… nothing. F***.’
Mark Krutov, a journalist from Radio Free Europe, managed to track down the commander, and confirmed he is at a barracks called Kalininets in Moscow.
The man said he was a night-shift worker from Moscow who was asleep at home when soldiers knocked on his door and ordered him to the front.
Asked to elaborate on his complaints, he replied: ‘Can’t talk now, things have changed drastically, hopefully for the better,’ and went out of contact.
Meanwhile other footage showed two men claiming to be Russian soldiers sitting in a fox-hole in a forest, purportedly in Ukraine.
‘Here we are in the forest,’ the man says to camera as his comrade sits behind him.
‘We were just shelled, they hit us from metres away. We were left in the forest… Like cannon fodder sent to the f***ing forest.
‘What [are our commanders] playing at with this army that simply doesn’t work? It’s worse than working in the Ukrainian armed forces.
‘F***ing f***ers… And none of the commanders of our team are here, they all f***ed off, they were the first to go. Now there’s just us ‘contractors’.
Vladimir Putin last week ordered the conscriptions of hundreds of thousands of Russian men into the army, and launched a plan to annex parts of the country to Russia
‘There is nothing on our machines, no supplies, no electronics. No binoculars, no thermal imagers, nothing at all. Machine gun and ammo. And the bayonet. But there is not a f***ing thing. Here we sit, waiting. Let’s see what will happen.
‘At night we sit on the battlefield, on the front line. It’s right across the field. These bastards have left us without f***ing water. No food. Let’s see what will happen next.’
Meanwhile another piece of footage showed what appeared to be a female quartermaster talking to new recruits and advising them to bring tampons .
The sanitary products can be used to plug bullet wounds and stop bleeding in the absence of medical kit, the woman tells the new recruits.
Other items they are advised to bring themselves include their own sleeping bags, tourniquets, medicines and roll mats.
‘They won’t give it to us?’ one of the new recruits asks.
‘It’s all our own, boys,’ the woman shouts back. ‘You will be given a uniform and armour, nothing else.’
These are just the latest examples of poor morale and preparation within the Russian ranks after Putin’s army exhausted itself in seven months of war in Ukraine.
While Kyiv retools with Western weapons, Moscow has resorted to scraping the barrel in terms of supplies and equipment.
And last week, in an attempt to solve Russia’s chronic manpower problem, Putin ordered what he called the ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russian military reserves.
Since then, tens of thousands of men have been ordered to military bases where they have been hastily equipped and given minimal training before being rushed to the battlefield.
A woman wearing a uniform emblazoned with the symbol of the Young Army Cadets National Movement hugs a reservist goodbye as he is shipped off to Ukraine
Military reservists drafted in to fight in Ukraine line up to board buses as their tearful loved ones say goodbye in Sevastopol, Crimea
Russian military reservists in occupied Crimea are given an Orthodox blessing as they prepare to ship out to the frontlines
The UN voiced alarm on Tuesday at credible reports of nearly 2,400 arrests in less than a week during nationwide protests in dozens of cities against the draft order.
Ex-Soviet Georgia, which was invaded by Russia in 2008, said the numbers of Russians crossing its borders had increased to around 10,000 people daily since Putin’s announcement.
Kazakhstan, the Central Asian country on Russia’s southern border meanwhile said nearly 100,000 people had entered the country since September 21 and its leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said authorities would “ensure their safety”.
Meanwhile Ukrainian troops are continuing to advance in the north of the country, advancing towards Luhansk province and towards Donetsk.
Heavy fighting also continues on the southern front, around Kherson, where Ukrainian advances have been limited but Russian casualties are said to be high.
Attacks continued as Putin prepared to carve off parts of Ukraine and declare them to be Russian soil, as ‘voting’ in sham referenda closed today.
The Russian despot is believed to be considering an address to the nation as early as Friday to announce that Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson have voted to become part of the ‘motherland’.
While Ukraine, its Western backers and dozens of other world leaders have vowed never to recognise the votes, they will allow Putin to spin the lie to his own people that Russia itself is now under attack.
That would open the door to further escalation, including – some fear – a nuclear strike either on Ukraine or its allies.
A man in hospital is asked to place his ballot in a box as voting takes place in sham referenda intended to annex parts of Ukraine to Russia
‘Saving people in the territories where this referendum is taking place… is the focus of the attention of our entire society and of the entire country,’ Putin said during a televised meeting with officials.
His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the votes would have ‘radical’ legal implications and that the so-called referendums ‘will also have consequences for security’, referring again to Moscow’s threats to use nuclear weapons to defend its territory.
Russian forces in Ukraine this month have suffered serious setbacks, both in the east and south of the country, which observers say pushed Putin to rush ahead with the vote to cement Moscow’s authority there.
EU spokesman Peter Stano announced the bloc will slap sanctions on organisers of the “illegal” vote, following a similar move the UK earlier in the week.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna meanwhile was in Kyiv for a surprise visit to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and underscore her country’s support for Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Even Moscow’s closest ally since the start of the invasion, Beijing, said after the votes were announced last week that Russia should respect territorial integrity in the war.
The so-called referendums follow a pattern that Moscow utilised in Crimea after nationwide street demonstrations saw Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president ousted.
Like then, the outcome of the ballot is being viewed by observers as a foregone conclusion. Election officials brought ballot boxes door-to-door in many cases accompanied by armed Russian forces.
Lawmakers are expected to vote hastily to annex the territories after the results are announced and Russian news agencies have said Putin could sign legislation formalising the land grab this week.