Russia recruits 300,000 new soldiers for the war in Ukraine. Experts feared many of them would end up as cannon fodder. Reality shows that this is exactly what is happening. Again and again reveal these reports from soldiers from the combat area.

Military experts and Russian recruits suspected it beforehand: the new soldiers would end up as cannon fodder, according to the unanimous opinion shortly after Vladimir Putin’s announcement at the end of September that 300,000 people would be called to arms.

Reports from Russian soldiers from the front now show that this is exactly what happened. Many were sent to the front without any training. They have no weapons, no food, no orders. And they are mercilessly at the mercy of the Ukrainian offensive.

“We are close to the front. We have no ammunition, no grenades, no food, no water. We were sent here without any training, without anything.”

“We had to buy our uniforms ourselves and have no support. Everything we have we got ourselves.”

“We don’t have clear orders. We don’t know where the enemy is. There is no communication with the rest of the Russian army.”

“We will be destroyed everywhere. We’re under constant fire. Eight of us were killed tonight. Three were injured. It’s a f***ing shit.”

“We have arrived on the battlefield. The conditions here are very bad. The people have no water, no food. There is no replenishment. The soldiers have to go to the next village and buy everything themselves.”

“We sleep in the middle of the battlefield. We don’t have tents. Some of us are sick. How long is this going to go on?”

“I and 266 other men were recruited in prison and then used as cannon fodder.”

“Our commander asked us to go to the front at the very front. He and other recruits stayed 30, 40 meters behind us. Looking around, I saw that they weren’t very far behind us. They wanted to use us as cannon fodder to find out where the enemy’s exact position is.”

“When we were recruited, we were told a very different story. That we didn’t have to fight at the front. That we would get two weeks of training. And then we should learn from experienced soldiers. We should watch what they do and give them cover. But none of that happened.”

To possible other recruits: “Guys, I’ll tell you how it is: you won’t survive six months. Maybe not even two days. If you can avoid going into this war, then do it. Serve your sentence and then leave prison with a clear conscience. This is not your war.”

“We came to the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border. The officers said they didn’t even know we were coming. Weapons and ammunition were just lying around, under a thick layer of mud. They were useless. The assault rifles were damp and rusted. You can’t go to war with that.”

“We didn’t get any training, we weren’t even assigned. We were consistently lied to that we would receive any type of training. Only once did we receive target practice. That was the day Defense Minister Shoigu came by for inspection. It was all just for show.”

“We have fit guys here. But we also have some that cannot carry 15 kilograms. And a backpack with a rifle, ammunition and grenades weighs 20-25 kilograms. They can’t run with it on the battlefield. And we never practiced that either.”

“Although we are a regiment of riflemen, we were put into a tank unit. So the commanders just said, ‘You’re a mechanic now. At some point, the superiors realized that the wrong unit had been brought to them. Then they told us to pack our things, we would be taken somewhere else.

“We have to buy our own food and drink. We haven’t had anything for two days. We get screwed all the time.”

“Supervisors don’t give us any information and lie to us about what’s going on. If you go to an officer and ask him what to do, where to do it, how to do it – nobody tells us anything.”

“So far we have only been destroyed at the front.”

Only 14 days after their draft, many of them were dead. They came under Ukrainian fire in a skirmish near the town of Svatovo. “They were told that the tanks would go on the offensive. But the tanks retreated. After that the slaughter began.”

“It’s like a madhouse. We have no one to guide us. When I advance with the tank, I don’t know who is in front of me. I may just roll over our own infantrymen in the trenches. And at the same time I’m afraid that our own bullets will hit me from behind.”

“Our infantry has been severely decimated. Partly by our own drones. Our own people miss three kilometers – or hit their own people. We had 600 infantrymen here. There are 60 left, maybe only 50. There are dead bodies and wounded everywhere. And we can’t save them.”

“The trenches are mass graves.”

“In one skirmish, our battalion suffered heavy casualties. There were many dead and injured. We were told to advance. At a roadblock we would meet our comrades. But there was nobody in front of us. When we got near the village of Torske, the Ukrainians fired at us with shells.”

“We tried to withdraw. But by then we were already trapped. We crawled about two kilometers. Then we continued on foot until we met a tank that picked us up.”

“We drove to Kreminna. There a commander asked us why we had left our position. He said we had five minutes to get ready and head back to the front.

“A tank crew returned to the front to recover injured people. They said it was impossible. There was constant shelling. But the commander remained firm. He demanded that we go back there. Otherwise we would be sentenced to ten years in prison under difficult conditions.”

A relative says: “The men were not just thrown to the front without training. Some of them were also illegally confiscated. You never signed anything. And some of them had reasons for deferring draft. But they were simply ignored. One of them said after the mobilization, ‘I’m going there like a pig to slaughter.’”

Such eyewitness accounts are currently plentiful. Sometimes the soldiers send them in videos themselves from the front. Some of them are overheard in intercepted phone calls. Sometimes relatives in Russia describe the stories of their husbands, sons, fathers.

The military historian Chris Owen writes that the reports do not prove that this is what is happening everywhere at the front. But it is a remarkable accumulation of eyewitness reports. “This reinforces the impression that the new recruits are not of great value to the Russian struggle in Ukraine. Hungry, demoralized, untrained men who don’t even have ammunition don’t seem to offer much resistance.”

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