A new series of videos from the Russian frontline in Ukraine has exposed the desperate situation for many of Vladimir Putin’s conscripts. One video shows a tense confrontation in Russia, taking place in Ardatovsky, some 360 kilometres east of Moscow. In the clip, shared on social media this week, a local official tries and fails to reassure conscripts that they “are not cannon fodder, but trained soldiers”.
The video, which is dated October 25th, shows the official – the head of the district – also telling the conscripts that they had five minutes to say goodbye to their loved ones.
The conscripted soldiers respond furiously to the official, with one dad of two walking up to the official to vent his anger.
The Russian father is filmed responding: “We are cannon fodder! We are!”
Pointing to a man in crutches, he adds: “You b******! This guy’s an invalid.
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“And me? I have an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. It’s all empty words.”
Another man in the crowd then shouts: “You f*****!”
In another video, a group of conscripted soldiers claims that they have been dumped in Ukraine without any commanders.
One of the troops complains that they do not even know “where the enemy is, or where our troops are”.
A fourth video, shot in Crimea, shows troops bizarrely mowing land, as one troop questions: “This is combat training before going to the front.
“Why are we going there? To dig, to mow, or to defend the motherland?”
Speaking on Friday, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that the country’s partial mobilisation of reservists announced in September “has been completed” and “no further measures are planned”.
Speaking at a meeting with Vladimir Putin broadcast on state television, Shoigu said 82,000 mobilised recruits were in the conflict zone and a further 218,000 in training in barracks.
The mobilisation effort has largely been seen as a desperate effort to halt Kyiv’s counteroffensive with poorly trained troops.
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