How goes Vladimir Putin’s war at home? Not so well, it turns out, not even with the Russian strongman’s propaganda machine turned all the way up to 11. Having been forced to admit that he sent untrained conscripts into Ukraine for the invasion, Putin now wants his generals to go out and find “volunteers” to invigorate his bogged-down march on Kyiv.
They’re not looking in Russia, by the way:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his defense minister to assist “volunteer” fighters to travel to Ukraine to join Russian forces there.
The order appears to relate to Russian efforts to recruit Syrian fighters that U.S. officials have said are underway.
Russia’s defense minister Sergey Shoigu claimed to Putin that 16,000 volunteers from “the Middle East” had expressed a desire to come.
Why would Syrian fighters want to invade Ukraine on behalf of Moscow? They’re still busy fighting ISIS and the remains of their own civil war, and that would normally take precedence. Shoigu, a man whose own neck could be on the chopping block literally if the Russian invasion stalls, says they’re just Good Samaritans, or something:
Shoigu claimed that the fighters, who he said had experience fighting ISIS, wanted to come not for money but a “sincere” desire to help.
They’d better not be coming for the rubles. Russia doesn’t have much access to hard currencies these days, and the ruble has gotten so worthless that even Belarusian banks are starting to reject it:
After Russia invaded Ukraine and the West imposed sanctions, the Russian ruble began to rapidly lose ground not only in the domestic market but also in Belarus. Belarusian banks put the exchange rate for Russian currency within one Belarusian ruble per 100 Russian rubles. Some exchange offices even stopped buying Russian money.
This was caused not only by the sharp decline in Russian currency but also by the ban on the sale of foreign currency in Russia. Thus, the Belarusian banks are saving their foreign currency savings in case Russians head to Belarus in droves to buy foreign currency.
It’s a measure of Russian desperation that they’re having to recruit Syrians for this fight against Ukraine. They must be unable to recruit at home, likely because they don’t want to stoke anti-war sentiment any higher than it already is. And with mothers of dead soldiers already asking a lot of questions, foreign mercenaries suddenly look like a better option … if much harder to explain in a “liberation” force.
We’ll talk about this and more today on the air, where I’ll be filling in for our pal Hugh Hewitt on his syndicated radio show, airing from 6-9 am ET, live from the home studio deep in the heart of Texas! We will have a great lineup of guests and regular contributors:
- Ric Grenell
- Christian Toto
- Matt Schlapp
We’ll also take your calls to the show at 800-520-1234, and you can watch the show live at The Hughniverse. There’s a great chat room that goes with it, and lots of original content in the troll-free websurfing experience for subscribers. The audio also streams at HughHewitt.com.