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Russian elite units in Ukraine increasingly rely on convicts, UK defence ministry says

24.10.2023 23:00
Russia's elite units in Ukraine are now increasingly made up of convicts and troops facing disciplinary charges, according to Britain's defence ministry.
A huge digital billboard in St. Petersburg promoting contract service in the Russian armed forces.
A huge digital billboard in St. Petersburg promoting "contract service in the Russian armed forces."Photo: EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

"Russia largely continues to rely on specially designated 'Shtorm-Z' units for local offensive operations in Ukraine," the UK defence ministry said in its latest Intelligence Update on the Situation in Ukraine.

"These company-sized groups were likely first deployed in 2022," it added. "There is a realistic possibility that Russia originally envisioned them as relatively elite organisations which could seize the tactical initiative."

However, "since at least spring" this year, these units have "effectively become penal battalions," manned by convicts and troops on disciplinary charges, according to the UK defence ministry.

"Multiple accounts suggest the units are given the lowest priority for logistical and medical support, while repeatedly being ordered to attack," the UK intelligence update said.

It added that "the existence of Shtorm-Z highlights the extreme difficulty Russia has in generating combat infantry capable of conducting effective offensive operations."

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Tuesday is day 608 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: Sky News