Thousands of Russian Soldiers in Ukraine Now Deserting Posts: Intel

Thousands of Russian soldiers have reportedly deserted their posts in Ukraine as troop morale continues to plummet.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR) recently reported that over 18,000 military personnel in Russia’s Southern Military District have now abandoned their positions despite the ongoing fight with Ukraine.

Around 12,000 of them are from the 8th Combined Arms Army, while an estimated 2,500 soldiers are from the Russian 58th Combined Arms Army.

According to the HUR, more than 50 percent of the 18,000 Russian troops who have deserted their posts are mobilized conscripts, while around 2,000 are contract soldiers.

The intelligence agency has not disclosed specific factors for the desertions.

A Continuing Problem

Troop desertion has been one of the most recurring problems for Russia in its two-year war against Ukraine.

In August 2023, a former senior Russian commander claimed that some of Moscow’s forces were on the brink of abandoning their frontline positions.

He said Russian troops in Ukraine have been in brutal conditions, including being ill-equipped and stuck in trenches for months without relief.

Desertion from the Russian Army is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to a report by Newsweek.

Some generals may have also authorized “shoot to kill” action against deserters after giving warnings, a previous UK Ministry of Defence report noted.

Low Morale

Though reported several times, this appears to be the first time an actual number of Russian military deserters has been provided.

It comes as the US finally approved $61 billion in supplemental aid for Ukraine, which will provide the needed weapons and ammunition against Russian forces.

This week, hundreds of Russian troops are believed to have been killed after a US-supplied ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) attack in the eastern Luhansk region.

Commentators have speculated that these developments may be contributing to increasing demoralization among Russia’s frontline troops, leading to desertions.

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