Russian troops, many of them pressed into service involuntarily or under the false pretense of only being territorial guards, reveal that they are refusing to go to the front lines after their comrades are killed on suicide missions. On recent Telegram posts, the Russian soldiers, suffering from poor morale, say they are not deserting but that they will not willingly go to certain death by Ukrainian artillery.

On July 2, the Russian local news Telegram channel Ostorozhno Novosti published a video appeal from soldiers of Russia’s 1428th regiment. The mobilized men were supposed to serve in the territorial defense are instead being sent on assaults near Bakhmut without training and normal equipment.

The Russian recruits say in the video they had been coerced into “volunteering” for territorial defense and had never consented to front-line fighting when signing their enlistment contract. “We don’t want to carry out senseless and suicidal orders,” they complained.

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The impressed enlistees say they are not deserting but refuse to follow suicidal orders. They say the situation “became obvious when [their] comrades were [killed by Ukrainian artillery fire] when approaching the front lines in a convoy.”

Another similar appeal was published on Telegram on June 23: Mobilized Russian men from Zaporizhzhia complained about heavy losses after the Ukrainian counteroffensive began.

According to the Russian fighters, they had previously served on the second line of defense. After June 8, the command sent them to the front line, where they suffered significant losses.

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“Within two weeks, several hundred men were out of action. Most of them didn’t even see the enemy and were taken out by shelling from a distance.”

The soldiers said they have to hold open positions with almost no protection where they are shot at by the Ukrainian forces.

“The Ukrainians are hitting directly into the trench. There’s no point in just sitting there,” said a Russian serviceman. He also claimed that many of his comrades “were left lying wounded at their postss because soldiers had to be evacuated in unsuitable passenger cars – under shelling, on mined terrain.”

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According to the reports, many Russian troops are refusing to carry out tasks they consider “suicidal.”

Every four days, these new Russian conscripts are sent to the forward positions to fight alongside a unit of ex-prisoners who have signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense as part of “Storm Z.” Suffering from severely low morale, many now say they simply won’t go.

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