Recently mobilized Russian soldiers decry “inhumane” conditions, weapons shortages and mistreatment by officers, according to a video published Wednesday by the independent news site The Insider.
Images of new recruits sleeping on the floor, armed with obsolete rifles and told to supply themselves emerged almost immediately after President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization last month.
About 500 soldiers gathered in the Belgorod region of western Russia near the Ukrainian border, without training or knowledge of where they were deployed, the authors of the latest video said.
“No one needs us,” a voice can be heard saying behind the camera, flanked by uniformed soldiers on a station platform.
“We have been living in animal conditions for a week,” the voice said, adding that the soldiers had not received any material support or financial compensation since their appeal.
“We spent an absurd amount of money just on food, let alone ammunition.”
The Insider reported earlier that soldiers’ wives were forced to spend up to $2,500 to outfit their husbands. A website set up to answer questions about mobilization says it is illegal to require soldiers to purchase their own equipment. The same website encourages soldiers to bring their own night vision goggles and drones to the battlefield.
It was unclear where the mobilized soldiers depicted in the video were ultimately deployed.
Yuri Shvytkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s defense committee, said on Thursday he had asked the military prosecutor’s office and the investigative committee to investigate the incident.
Western military analysts predicted that the Kremlin’s rush to deploy new recruits to the front lines would lead to high death rates, unreliability of troops and low morale.
Several recruits are said to have died before their deployment.