Russian soldier claims troops have ‘refused’ orders from Kremlin

Russian soldier says troops are ‘refusing’ Kremlin orders

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A phone call made by a Russian soldier has revealed his battalion “refused” to follow orders from their commanders amid growing tensions between serving soldiers and Kremlin military officers. The news comes after intelligence reports suggested Moscow was struggling to provide adequate military leadership for groups of newly mobilised Russian troops. During the conversation, the active serviceman also claimed much of the equipment provided to Kremlin forces was “dead” as he described the sorry state of a number of their vehicles.

In a translated phone conversation with his wife, the Russian soldier reported: “We went out yesterday and only came back today to the old positions. 

“They say they wanted to transfer us to Kramatorsk – everyone refused.”

He later added: “The Colonels don’t come to us for six, seven days in a row, or the command in general.”

When his wife asked if he had any news of when the war could come to an end, the Russian soldier responded: “I don’t know, we don’t know any news at all.

“We have one Senior Lieutenant, he doesn’t know [anything] either. He only went to fight so that his son wouldn’t be mobilised.”

The phone call, reported by online organisation War Translated, comes after UK intelligence reports suggested the Kremlin was struggling to provide adequate military leadership to head to 300,000 men ordered to mobilise by Vladimir Putin.

The Ministry of Defence said: “Major elements of Russia’s military leadership are increasingly dysfunctional.

“At the tactical level, there is almost certainly a worsening shortage of capable Russian junior officers to organise and lead newly mobilised reservists.”

Defence officials have argued the weak structure of leadership within the Kremlin armed forces has likely contributed to an atmosphere of low morale among fighting troops.

Read more: Putin set to lose all territory gained since 2014

Further into the conversation with his wife, the Russian soldier highlighted the dysfunctional state of the armoured military vehicles issued by the Kremlin.

He told his partner: “I’ll tell you more when I return, but our vehicles are just – everything they’re advertising, there’s none of that here. The vehicles are completely dead.

“Out of five BRTs, on three the turret doesn’t rotate. Another’s barrel lifts up and falls down instantly. 

“Another one, which has eight wheels, the device for going over mud doesn’t work on it.”

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The UK Ministry of Defence has reported incidents of Russian soldiers referring to their own vehicles as “aluminium cans,” highlighting the weakness of the Kremlin arsenal.

Data suggests the daily Russian loss of armoured vehicles within the conflict increased to over 40 a day throughout October. Contextually, this is roughly the equivalent to a battalion’s worth of equipment.

In the face of military supply difficulties, the Kremlin has acquired stocks of additional tanks and other infantry vehicles from Belarus, although the ongoing destruction and capture of Russian vehicles by the Ukrainian forces has continued at an alarming rate.

Under threat from depleting morale across their armed forces, the UK Ministry of Defence has reported that the Kremlin has constructed “blocking units” which threaten to shoot Russian soldiers if they retreat from the battlefield.

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