Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine: report

Hundreds of Russian soldiers have refused to fight or deserted since the country invaded Ukraine in February, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

A destroyed Russian tank with the letter Z next to damaged houses in village Mala Rohan, near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 31 March 2022.

A destroyed Russian tank with the letter 'Z’ next to damaged houses in village Mala Rohan, near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 31 March 2022.Photo: EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

According to a report published by the news outlet on Wednesday, Russia has suffered major losses since the beginning of the war.

The report, citing military documents obtained by the WSJ, also speaks of alleged low morale among Russian troops in Ukraine.

“So many people don’t want to fight,” Russian lawyer Mikhail Benyash said, according to the news outlet. Benyash is representing a dozen service members of Russia’s National Guard who were fired after refusing to take part in the invasion.

Last week, The Guardian reported that at least 115 Russian guardsmen said they were dismissed for refusing to fight.

WSJ cited Benyash as saying that soldiers who refuse to fight have been dismissed but not criminally charged since the Kremlin has not formally declared war against Ukraine, with Putin describing the invasion as a “special military operation”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Agora, a Russian human rights group, said that more than 700 Russian service members contacted them for legal assistance in relation to refusing orders.

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Source: WSJ

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