Russian Military Recruiting Female Convicts to Fight in Ukraine: Report

The Russian military is actively recruiting women from penitentiaries to boost its invasion in Ukraine, Kyiv’s military intelligence service (HUR) has claimed.

HUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told Kyiv Post that female prisoners are being recruited not just for support roles but for combat.

They are reportedly promised financial incentives and an early release from prison in exchange for their military service.

Yusov also said convicts serving long sentences are most of those who accept the offer.

“Most of the women prisoners recruited by Russia have been killed or returned with serious injuries,” he stated.

So far, more than 100,000 Russian prisoners have reportedly been recruited to fight in Ukraine, according to a Russian human rights organization.

Decreasing Willingness

Although the Russian military is known to have recruited convicts since the early days of the war, this appears to be the first time it is targeting female prisoners.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov previously defended the utilization of prisoners, saying they “atone with blood for crimes on the battlefield.”

Yusov said the recruitment of female convicts may be a sign of the decreasing willingness of male prisoners to serve in the military.

Since 2023, male convicts have been recruited on the promise that they would be freed after just six months of combat duty in Ukraine.

However, this condition has reportedly been changed as contracts are being automatically extended until the end of the so-called “special military operation.”

A Desperate Move?

Yusov’s statement comes amid reports that the Russian military has suffered more than 350,000 casualties since the war began in February 2022.

To address the depleted force, Moscow resorted to desperate measures, including ramping up female recruitment to fill the roles of doctors, nurses, and cooks.

Putin also approved a law that would mobilize Russian men up to 70 years old to serve in the military and fight in Ukraine.

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