Russian conscripts send message to leaders amid growing backlash

Russian soldiers claim they have not been paid

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A group of masked Russian troops have sent a direct message to military commanders in the country demanding better conditions, equipment and pay. This comes as Vladimir Putin’s surprise mobilisation order in the country continues to backfire on the Russian leadership. An onslaught of videos has depicted chaotic scenes of conscripts being rounded up or being deployed without proper equipment or training.

The latest video, shared across Russia on Telegram, shows a group of masked troops airing a series of grievances.

The message, directed at Russian military leaders in Moscow, is a rare expression of defiance against President Putin and a sign of growing unrest among mobilised forces.

One of the troops tells the camera that they have not been paid since being signed up to fight, while many are still missing their equipment.

The troop leader says: “They are not paying us our salaries as promised by the Ministry of Defence.

“This video is being shot on October 21 and our salaries have yet to be deposited.

“I also want to bring attention to the fact that soldiers still don’t have their gear, vests, gloves, flak jackets, helmets, armour plates.

“The Turkish gear we have been given is of poor quality.”

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CNN’s Erin Burnett responded to the clip: “You have these soldiers that are not being trained and not getting anything they need.

“More and more intercepted phone calls or disgruntled videos are coming out.”

Phillips O’Brien, a leading expert from the University of St Andrews, added: “It’s clear this is something Russia was forced into.

“They weren’t able to stockpile equipment. It shows a lack of preparation.

“These are videos that are widely seen in Russia, and Russian media has been quite sensitive to the criticism.”

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Anastasia, a teacher from Bryansk, posted on Russian social media: “We had to spend our monthly salary on my husband’s gear so that he at least has a chance to come back.

“Frankly, it is completely embarrassing. It is a mess.”

One conscript, Vladimir, echoed this: “I even had to paint my gun to cover the rust. It is a nightmare. Soon they’ll make us buy our own grenades.”

This follows similar footage earlier this week which showed mobilised Russian soldiers from Krasnodar complaining that they have been literally “thrown out like dogs”.

The furious conscripts said they had been abandoned in the fields of Ukraine.

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The men add that they have to live in holes, which they were forced to dig with their bare hands and lack both ammunition and medicines to treat the sick.

The Ukrainian General Staff revealed this week that Russia was struggling to finance its depleted military.

Spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said that Russia was experiencing difficulties paying the salaries of soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

This could also affect families of dead soldiers waiting for compensation.

Despite the chaos, Russia sent up to 2,000 recent conscripts into the territory of Kherson Oblast to replenish losses ahead of an expected advance.

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