Soldiers try to escape burning Russian trench
A once-elite part of the Russian military has now been reduced to “meat” to be thrown into battle in Ukraine, according to reports.
Russia has used soldiers from its ‘Storm Z assault companies’ to try and push back Ukrainian troops as part of its invasion.
The first Storm Z units were formed in October 2022 when Russia was recruiting prisoners for the military.
This came after Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner Group was pictured recruiting convicts to join his mercenary group.
‘Storm Z’ units have been defined in Moscow as “a temporarily created independent, combined-arms unit outside the regular army structure for immediate operational tasking to carry out particularly complex combat missions”.
A unit is comprised of 100 to 150 personnel organized within a flexible structure depending on the type of mission they are being sent on.
Documents reported on by the Kyiv Post indicate soldier contracts in Storm Z units are supposed to be six months.
But, it has been reported that many prisoners who have joined up to fight are forced to stay on the frontline.
Storm Z units are also usually poorly trained.
These men are typically sent to the most exposed parts of the front and sustain heavy losses as a result.
One soldier told Reuters that “anyone with the smell of alcohol on their breath”, could be immediately sent to a Storm-Z squad.
Another soldier said: “Storm fighters – they’re just meat.”
While Ukraine’s most recent counteroffensive has not achieved what many in the country hoped it would, Russian soldiers are also being bogged down by the brutality of the war.
A US-based think tank, The Institute for the Study of War, has said that Russian military units are undermanned and some battalions, brigades, or regiments exist in name only.
The Ministry of Defence in the UK has also said that Russian nationalist ‘mil bloggers’ have been very critical of Russia’s military tactics.
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