Russia: 15,000 troops ‘could surrender’ says expert
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Vladimir Putin’s soldiers are fighting while being drunk, low on morale, and armed with obsolete weapons, a report has claimed. According to Kyiv, the Russian soldiers are a part of the recently formed 3rd Army Corps.
The unit was formed four months back to add strength to Russian ranks after they lost tens of thousands of soldiers due to death or injury since the beginning of the invasion in February.
According to Newsweek, it consists of 15,000 predominantly volunteer soldiers, equipped with hundreds of tanks and other military vehicles.
However, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who cited unspecified “available information”, has claimed that some of the servicemen are abandoning positions and refusing orders.
The Ukrainian body also attributed the corps’ struggles to “consumption of alcoholic beverages” and “systematic violations of military discipline”, which have caused “demoralisation” in the ranks.
According to a Forbes Magazine report last month, the 3rd Army Corps consists of old, unfit volunteers, sometimes including drug and alcohol addicts, who are paid up to $5,000 (£4,400) a month – a salary that is five times more than the average Russian wage.
Sections of the unit were deployed in Kharkiv during early September, with Ukraine going on to launch a rapid counter-offensive that reclaimed significant amounts of occupied territory and pushed Putin’s soldiers back across the border into Russia.
The deflated 3rd Army Corps’ brigades, meanwhile, were reported to have left behind their tanks as they retreated with haste.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has confirmed this week that Russia has so far called up more than 200,000 reservists out of the 300,000 men it had planned to mobilise for the war effort in Ukraine.
Another 370,000 Russian men, however, have chosen to flee to neighbouring countries such as Kazakhstan, Georgia, Mongolia and EU nations during the last fortnight in an attempt to dodge the unpopular draft.
Ukrainian forces have also driven back Russian troops in three partially occupied Ukrainian territories.
A Russian-installed official conceded that Kyiv’s forces were making gains around Kherson, one of four regions that Moscow “annexed” last week.
Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed head of Ukraine’s Kherson region, said on state television: “It’s tense, let’s put it that way.”
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Last week, Moscow announced it would “annex” four regions in Ukraine: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “republics” in eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv and its allies condemned the move, calling it illegitimate and illegal.
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