Vladimir Putin has sent in “execution squads” to Ukraine to kill Russian troops who are defecting as they are “choosing desertion to avoid death” back in Russia.
Putin amassed around 200,000 troops on Ukraine border before the invasion which has seen thousands of soldiers flee his army.
Ukrainian security services have warned that “death squads” are following Russian troops into battle and are shooting dead anyone who attempts to run away.
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The Centre for Defence Strategies, a leading Ukrainian think-tank warned, “Russian forces are aware of the hopelessness of their situation and increasingly choosing desertion to avoid death.”
The Ukrainian Minister for Internal Affairs emphasised the widespread impact of Russian desertions and troops surrendering.
He said, “We are seeing cases of surrender when Russian troops voluntarily contact our military and declare that they want to surrender, that they do not take part in active hostilities.”
He added that Russian troops are defecting with military equipment, including tanks, after they realised they are being used as “cannon fodder” by their commanders and Putin.
While the claims are not verified, there are many stories emerging of Russian deserters.
Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Victor Andrusiv said that the a commander who deserted said, he “didn’t see the point of war.”
He added, “He could not return home because his commander told him he would shoot him dead and say he died in battle.
“Misha told us that he had barely any food left, the command structure was chaotic and almost absent, morale is very low.”
Speaking of the widespread desertions Andrusiv said, “We are seeing cases of surrender when Russian troops voluntarily contact our military and declare that they want to surrender, that they do not take part in active hostilities.”