Mobilized Russians Sent to War After Two Days of Training: Rights Group

A human rights group says that Russian men drafted to fight in Ukraine are being forced to the front lines with little to no preparation.

Perviy Otdel said on Telegram Wednesday that Russian authorities are illegally rushing conscripts to war zones in Ukraine without training exercises or medical examinations. The report is the latest in a string of alleged disarray that’s followed Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s order last week to begin calling up reservists in a bid to shore up his invasion of Ukraine.

According to the post by Perviy Otdel, the group has begun receiving confirmation that conscripted men are being forced to write reports stating they are ready to fight in Russia’s “special military operation” despite receiving only two days of training.

Mobilized Russian Reservists Ship Off
Reservists drafted during the partial mobilization attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on September 27, 2022. A human rights group reports that some mobilized Russians have not received basic training before being rushed to the front lines.
STRINGER/Getty Images

The group also said it has received information that mobilized Russian troops have not been provided with promised financial support and their relatives have hit a dead end after approaching the prosecutor’s office.

A recently mobilized Russian said in a video posted to Telegram by Perviy Otdel that new soldiers have been sent directly to Kherson, a region that’s the target of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, without any training.

“We were officially told there would be no training before we are sent to the war zone,” the mobilized Russian clad in a military uniform says in his translated remarks. “The official regiment commander confirmed this.”

After Putin issued his decree mobilizing 300,000 reservists, Russians have rushed to flee the country. Others have protested with more than 140,000 signing a petition against the order. Reports have also emerged that Russians in their 60s have been conscripted, while others have been given rusty guns or faced retaliation for complaining.

Rob Lee, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute think tank, tweeted last week that “the war will now increasingly be fought on the Russian side by people who do not want to be there.”

“The difference in morale, unit cohesion, and other critical factors between Ukrainian and Russian units will grow even greater,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Tuesday during a press briefing that the Russian military has already struggled with logistics, troop morale and command as it failed to capture Kyiv earlier in the war.

“And now with this mobilization, it’s an effort to address the overall manpower challenges that the Russian military is facing,” Ryder said, adding that it places “another level of complexity to an already-challenging systemic situation when it comes to employing these troops.”

Russia is currently playing defense against the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s north and south, he said.

Aided by the Wagner mercenary group, Russia’s military is pushing forward with an offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region in an attempt to “essentially take territory,” Ryder added.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

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