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Russia uses new draftees as ‘cannon fodder’ in Ukraine: Zelensky

14.10.2022 12:15
Ukraine’s president has said that Russian generals are treating newly mobilised troops as easily replaceable "cannon fodder" for their country's aggression against Ukraine. 
Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian generals are treating newly mobilised troops as easily replaceable cannon fodder for their countrys aggression against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian generals are treating newly mobilised troops as easily replaceable "cannon fodder" for their country's aggression against Ukraine.Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Volodymyr Zelensky made the statement in his nightly video address to the Ukrainian people on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial call-up of reservists to fight in Ukraine, Zelensky said: “Now Russia is sending thousands of its mobilised men to the front. They have no significant military training, but their command does not need it at all.”

The Ukrainian president added: “They expect that the mobilised Russians will be able to survive in the war for at least a few weeks, then they will die, and then new ones will be sent to the front.”

“But during this time, such use by Russian generals of their people as ‘cannon fodder’ makes it possible to create additional pressure on our defenders,” Zelensky stated.

He went on to say: "It's a tangible pressure. And I am grateful to all our warriors who endure it. I am also grateful to the partners who understand that in such conditions we need an increase in defence assistance. I thank everyone who fights, works and helps to protect Ukraine!"

Russian commanders criticised for troop deaths: ISW

Meanwhile, "public reports of the first deaths of ill-prepared mobilised Russian troops in Ukraine have sparked renewed criticism of the Russian military command,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.  

In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Thursday night, the US think tank wrote: “Russian media reported that five mobilised men from Chelyabinsk have already died in combat in Ukraine just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of partial mobilisation on September 21.”

According to the ISW, the report led many of Russia’s pro-war military bloggers “to claim that the number of dead and wounded among mobilised servicemen is likely higher than this due to lack of promised training, equipment, unit cohesion, and commanders, as well as repeated instances of wrongful mobilisation.”

'Haphazard' mobilisation 'will lead to 10,000 deaths' by February

Experts at the Washington-based think tank said that, according to Russian bloggers, the Commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District (SMD), Mikhail Zusko, “ordered the immediate deployment without any pre-combat training of newly mobilised servicemen of the 15th Regiment of the 27th Motor Rifle Brigade from Moscow City and Moscow Oblast to the collapsing frontline around Svatove [in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region] around October 2nd and 3rd.”

Later, “relatives found half of the 15th Regiment personnel wounded in a Belgorod Oblast hospital after the unit got caught in heavy artillery fire when attempting to reach the Svatove frontline,” Russian sources reportedly said, as cited by the ISW.

Moreover, “the regiment had no orders, military command supervision, signal, or supplies,” and “the other half of its personnel is still at the Svatove frontline,” Russian military bloggers claimed, according to the US experts.

The ISW also noted that some Russian bloggers claimed “witnessing the coffins of mobilised men arrive in Chelaybinsk, Moscow, and Yekaterenburg,” and also claimed that many mobilised men were “surrendering to Ukrainian forces.”

Also, one Russian blogger “complained on October 13 that newly mobilised men are being deployed in a haphazard way that will lead to 10,000 deaths and 40,000 injuries among them by February 2023,” the US experts noted.

Meanwhile, “Russian military units reportedly disperse mobilised men among different units without keeping proper records of their deployed locations on the frontlines, causing families to complain to military leadership,” according to military bloggers. 

Moreover, Russia’s military officials are continuing “to assign men with previous military experience to units that do not match their expertise,” the ISW said. 

Human rights groups ‘will break Russia from within'

The think tank cited one Russian military blogger as warning that the “Russian MoD’s inability to properly update families of the whereabouts of their relatives will lead mothers and wives to form human rights groups that ‘will break Russia from within.’"

‘Putin is willing to throw away lives’

The ISW also noted it had previously reported on a video of mobilised men from Moscow Oblast in Svatove who “complained about their lack of equipment and deployment to the frontlines without proper training,” adding that it corroborates some military blogger reports.

According to the US think tank, “The persistence of such complaints supports ISW’s assessment that the mobilisation campaign will not produce enough combat-ready Russian personnel to affect the course of the war in the short term.”

Moreover, “the Kremlin’s rapid deployment of mobilised servicemen to the Kreminna-Svatove line may also indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to throw away the lives of mobilised men in a desperate effort to preserve a collapsing frontline,” the ISW said.

Russia faces ‘severe shortages of munitions and manpower’

Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence reported on Friday that Russian forces were seeking to advance on the eastern city of Bakhmut “as a preliminary to advancing on the Kramatorsk-Sloviansk urban area," which is "the most significant population centre of Donetsk Oblast held by Ukraine.

The UK experts said Russian troops were slowly making progress in central Donbas, but added that the Russian army’s overall operational design was undermined by "Ukrainian pressure against its northern and southern flanks, and by severe shortages of munitions and manpower.”

Ukraine’s General Staff on Friday reported that Russia’s troop body count in Ukraine had reached 64,300, according to the kyivindependent.com website.

Friday is day 233 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, president.gov.ua, understandingwar.org, UK Ministry of Defence, kyivindependent.com