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Russia has admitted sending conscripted soldiers to war in Ukraine despite maintaining for weeks that only professional troops were used to invade Moscow’s western neighbour.
Russian defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov admitted on Wednesday that ‘we have uncovered several instances of the presence of conscripts in the Russian units taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine.’
He confirmed several conscripts were among Russian troops taken prisoner in Ukraine, but declined to give numbers, saying that Moscow was working to secure their release.
Konashenkov also claimed Moscow had already facilitated the return of ‘almost all’ conscripted servicemen ‘back to Russia’.
The admission comes after it was revealed that a series of Russian intelligence failures may have contributed to Moscow’s slow progress towards Kyiv since its troops invaded Ukraine on orders from the Kremlin two weeks ago.
Calls between Russian intelligence officials allegedly took place using normal sim cards, rather than the agency’s secure communication channel Era, meaning they were intercepted and published by Kyiv.
Russia has admitted sending conscripted soldiers to war in Ukraine despite maintaining for weeks that only professional troops were used to invade Moscow’s western neighbour (pictured, a Russian prisoner of war cries while on the phone to his mother)
Russian defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov confirmed on Wednesday that several conscripts were among Russian troops taken prisoner (pictured) in Ukraine, but declined to give numbers, saying that Moscow was working to secure their release
Russia has for weeks maintained that only professional soldiers were sent to invade Ukraine – though defence analysts warned the military was incapable of massing a large enough force of non-conscripted soldiers to countenance taking Kyiv.
The warnings come amid claims from mothers across Russia that their conscripted sons were pressured into going to the front with Ukraine, where they then lost contact with their families, the Telegraph reported.
Hundreds of Russian troops have been captured in Ukraine – with a Telegram channel set up by the Ukrainian government in a bid to prove to Russian families that their loved ones are still alive.
Kyiv last week also invited the worried mothers of Russian troops captured on the battlefield to come and collect their sons, in Kyiv’s latest apparent attempt to embarrass Moscow.
President Vlodymyr Zelensky’s government have also opened a telephone hotline for Russian parents to find out if their sons are among the dead or captured.
Russian intelligence agents have been embedded in units across Moscow’s armed forces – seemingly an effort by Putin to quash dissent and frighten would-be deserters into fighting
Rescuers on the scene at a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol are locked in a race against time as they try to free survivors from the rubble after the complex suffered a ‘direct hit’ by Russian rockets yesterday
Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022
A woman injured in Russian shelling of Mariupol’s maternity hospital stands outside wrapped in a blanket amid the carnage
Russian intelligence agents have been embedded in units across Moscow’s armed forces – seemingly in an effort to quash dissent and frighten would-be deserters into fighting.
But the officials have been bogged down in a series of intelligence failures that have been blamed for Russia’s slow invasion of Ukraine, which, it is understood, Moscow was expecting to take days, not weeks.
Officials from Russia’s intelligence agency, the FSB, reportedly relayed the news of the death of General Vitaly Gerasimov through a phone call using a normal sim card.
The call, between two intelligence officers embedded with Russian units in Ukraine, was intercepted by Ukrainian security services and later published, The Times reported.
Security experts warned the paper that the intelligence failures will have left Putin ‘very angry’.
Former senior British intelligence officer Philip Ingram said Putin’s anger was evidence from ‘his body language, the way he is gesturing, the terminology he is using.
‘He blames them for seeding him the advice that led to the poor decision-making in Ukraine.’
Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, a highly decorated Russian military official, was killed on Monday, Ukrainian officials said
A Russian tank is seen damaged and abandoned near the city of Mariupol, which has been under heavy shelling for days
The tail-end of a destroyed Russian Su-34 fighter is seen crashed through the roof of a warehouse near Kharkiv having been shot down by Ukrainian forces overnight
It is the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents for the Russian agency after a report complaining about long hours allegedly written by one of its employees emerged.
The letter, which has not been authenticated, was published online by a Russian human rights watchdog, Gulagu. It was then picked up by analysts at Bellingcat.
The author also complained of box-ticking exercises and warned Russia was underprepared for western sanction imposed after Moscow ordered an invasion of Ukraine.
The whistleblower at the FSB – the successor to the KGB – said that Russia was not prepared for the battle, or for the subsequent sanctions.
‘No one knew that there would be such a war, so no one prepared for such sanctions,’ the report said.
‘It’s just that there is no option for a possible victory.’
The author said that they were being told to tailor their intelligence reports to please their superiors.
‘We have been increasingly pressed to customize reports to the requirements of management – I once touched on this topic,’ the author claims.
‘All these political consultants, politicians and their retinue, influence teams – all this created chaos.
‘Now, even if Zelensky is killed, taken prisoner, nothing will change,’ the report said.
‘And now even those who were loyal to us are against it. Because it was planned from above, because we were told that there would be no such option, unless we were attacked.
‘Even with minimum resistance from the Ukrainians we’d need over 500,000 people, not including supply and logistics workers,’ the author claimed.
Source: Daily Mail