Putin’s partial mobilization continues to look like a disaster. There are reports that some of the new recruits are being sent to the front lines in Ukraine with little or no training or equipment. Mobilized soldiers and their families provide their own equipment and even medical supplies before they ship out.
A half-dozen Russian soldiers talk about being shipped to an area of intense fighting in eastern Ukraine just 11 days after their mobilization. Asked about his shooting practice, a bearded conscript says, “Once. Three magazines.”…
Elsewhere, scores of relatives of freshly drafted Russian soldiers crowd outside a training center, passing items through its fence to the recruits — boots, berets, bulletproof vests, backpacks, sleeping bags, camping mats, medicine, bandages and food.
“This is not how it’s done,” a woman named Elena told the news outlet Samara Online. “We buy everything.”
A UK specialist in the Russian military says the new recruits are being treated as cannon fodder with predictable results.
“They are giving them at best basics and at worst nothing and throwing them into combat, which suggests that these guys are just literally cannon fodder,” said William Alberque, a specialist in the Russian armed forces and the director of the arms control program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a research organization based in London…
“The result of the mobilization is that untrained guys are thrown onto the front line,” Anastasia Kashevarova, a military blogger who has supported the war, wrote in an angry post, one of several such broadsides.
“Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Moscow — zinc coffins are already coming,” she added. “You told us that there would be training, that they would not be sent to the front line in a week. Were you lying again?”
Last week the BBC got hold of a phone message left by one of the conscripts describing the conditions and how he wound up in a hospital in Crimea.
“The first day we arrived [at the front], without having ever used a gun, we were deployed in an assault group with only two grenade launchers – we were pure cannon fodder. I had to read a manual on how to use [the grenade launchers]. On the third day, we retreated, spent the night, then advanced and took positions in the trenches.
[The Ukrainians] had taken up their positions some 200 metres away from us and began to storm us. Drones were dropping [grenades?] on us, one after the other. I was [injured]. We were shooting at them for another hour, but they were already only 50 metres away. We had no cover, the armoured vehicle that was covering us burned down, the tank burned down. During a quieter moment, I ran, corpses all around me. I heard a mortar-launched bomb fly by. I don’t know how I got out of there.”
The situation is grim enough that even on state media there is discussion of the lack of training and supplies for conscripts. As usual, Julia Davis has the video. If you watch to then of this one you’ll see a yelling match over whether the government is handling this well and one guest finally concludes “The government s**t its pants.” Again, this is on Kremlin-run TV so the one thing you won’t hear is the name of the person responsible for these decisions. Putin is never criticized.
Meanwhile in Russia: Tempers fly, as not everybody is happy with the government's failure to properly equip the troops, leading to proposals to cancel the New Year's festivities and spend the money on the military. One pundit concludes: "The government sh*t its pants." pic.twitter.com/vBAUIcsAfz
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 17, 2022
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Russian men continue to flee to the country to avoid the mobilization.