‘Silver-haired, balding reservists in Russia are heading to front lines’
London: Pictures show how Russian President Vladimir Putin has resorted to sending a ‘Dad’s Army’ of ageing reservists to the Ukrainian front lines, the media reported.
Putin ordered the mobilisation of 300,000 extra troops last week in a bid to reverse the fortunes of his botched invasion, in a move which spooked thousands who fled the country, Daily Mail reported
But other hardy civilians decided to join the war effort despite their age, health and limited training, to bolster troop numbers after Kyiv’s stunning counter-offensive, Daily Mail reported.
In Sevastopol in Crimea, silver-haired and wrinkled recruits stood in line in their uniforms at a ceremony before they took a much-needed cigarette break and then made their way to the front lines, Daily Mail reported.
The images, taken on Tuesday less than a week after Putin’s order, show how rushed the mobilisation has been, compared to the six months’ minimum training usually provided.
“Whilst exact numbers are unclear, it likely exceeds the size of the total invasion force Russia fielded in February 2022.
“The better off and well educated are over-represented amongst those attempting to leave Russia. When combined with those reservists who are being mobilised, the domestic economic impact of reduced availability of labour and the acceleration of ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant.”
Those sent to war were already lamenting the outdated equipment and poor morale just weeks after the outbreak of war, an investigation by the New York Times claims.
Unauthorised phone calls made by soldiers to their families in March via shared cell phones among units near Bucha were intercepted by Ukraine and translated by the Times.
Many troops revealed the Kremlin had lied about the purpose of the war, showing an early insight into the reality on the ground.
One man named Sergey told his girlfriend: “Some guys took armour off of Ukrainians’ corpses and took it for themselves. Their NATO armour is better than ours.”
The dire situation for the troops has led to Putin’s mobilisation order, which came as Ukrainian forces dealt heavy battlefield setbacks to Moscow.
The mass exodus has created miles-long lines for days at some borders, and local Russian authorities on one area along the border with Georgia said they would start providing food, water, warming stations and other aid to those in line, Daily Mail reported.