Discipline and morale among Russian troops is so low that soldiers are being executed for not following orders, the White House said on Thursday.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, said that as well as individual cases of capital punishment, entire units were being threatened with death if they retreat from Ukrainian artillery fire.

“We have information that the Russian military has been actually executing soldiers who are refusing to follow orders,” he said.

“We also have information that Russian commanders are threatening to execute entire units if they seek to retreat from Ukrainian artillery fire,” he added.

“It's reprehensible.”

Kirby did not give further details when asked about the alleged executions or how the US  had obtained the information but reports of the practice have surfaced previously.


In March of this year, radio intercepts suggested Russian troops are being forced into combat under the threat of being shot by their own side.

The international intelligence community InformNapalm has revealed a batch of conversations among servicemen in one of the hottest areas in the combat zone, suggesting that the so-called barrage detachments, or anti-retreat forces, are enforcing discipline with threats of death.

In one intercepted conversation, the commander orders a group of occupiers to go on the offensive. Otherwise, they risk being shot from the rear.

And in June of this year, video emerged purportedly showing showing three armed Russian soldiers shooting at seven or more of their fellows as they ran away.

US-Russian Woman Arrested in Russia for Treason
Other Topics of Interest

US-Russian Woman Arrested in Russia for Treason

Russia's FSB said the woman had been "proactively collecting funds... which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medical items, equipment, and ammunition for the Ukrainian armed forces".

Russia has stepped up attacks near the town of Avdiivka in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region and the northeastern city of Kupyansk in a bid to move the front line forward before winter.

Moscow has suffered “significant losses” in the offensive including at least 125 armored vehicles and “thousands” of casualties, Kirby said.

“The Russian military appears to be using what we would call human wave tactics,” he said.


Intense Kremlin attacks attempting to gain ground against fortified Ukrainian positions in the eastern Donbas sector likely have pushed counts of Russian dead and wounded to near-record levels for the entire war.

You can read a full report about Russia's recent losses here.


To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments ( 1)

This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

It is no secret that some units of the Ukrainian army are under stress after many months of non stop fighting.
Just imagine then the stress of the average Russian soldier who doesn’t want to be there in the first place and who certainly does not want to die for Topless One.
Your choice is to die fighting or die retreating.
This is an unsustainable position for the Russian army and eventually expect reports of entire units revolting, killing their own commanders and retreating en masse.
The Ukrainian Air Force will soon gain control of Ukrainian air space and attack Russians on the ground over the winter. Then I expect to see Russians running like rabbits.

This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Imokru2, UAF won't control the air space for a long time to come. However, they should be able to neutralize any Russian advantage by next spring. Keep in mind that the Russian late model aircraft were designed for a competitive advantage over the F-16. Still, the F-16 has evolved and the latest variant has superior avionics and possibly munitions.

But we won't be seeing dogfights since that is possibly the worst use of modern aircraft. What we'll be seeing instead is an effective method to remove Russian helicopters from the battlefield and an additional way to protect forward artillery from missiles.