Russia-Ukraine War: More Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine - GUR

This report follows a growing number of reports that seem to indicate a severe morale crisis among the Russian military.

Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)
Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)

The Russian army is reportedly seeing a rapidly growing number of refusals to serve in the military amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed on Monday.

The report claimed that in several units, specifically in the 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Army of the Southern Military District, soldiers refusing to serve amounted to as much as 60%-70% of all soldiers.

This has become an issue for the Russian army, with commanders and officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) urging refusing soldiers to reconsider, with the GUR claiming they go so far as to threaten to kill the relatives of refusing soldiers.

If all measures fail, their refusal is noted in their personnel file.

If a soldier did go with their unit as they went into Ukraine but refused to take part in the fighting, the Russian military would note in their file that they "evaded military service and combat missions."

 A SERVICE member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia stands on the step of a military truck in the separatist-controlled village of Bugas in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters) A SERVICE member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia stands on the step of a military truck in the separatist-controlled village of Bugas in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

This report follows a growing number of reports that seem to indicate a severe morale crisis among the Russian military, particularly in light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In fact, a GUR report from Saturday indicated that Russian commanders were facing consequences for "not justifying high confidence" in Russian leadership should they fail in Ukraine.

A report from Free Radio Liberty earlier in April indicated that the number of Russian soldiers refusing to take part in the war is growing. According to human rights activist Pavlo Chikov, soldiers and guards from 17 cities told them they refused to go along with the invasion of Ukraine, as reported by Nastoyasche Vremya TV, a channel created by Free Radio Liberty and Voice of America.

In late March, a report surfaced of a Russian general being killed by his own troops due to the "boiling discontent among Russian forces deployed in and around Ukraine."

The Russian army has long been considered to be among the greatest in the world. A 2021 annual ranking by Global Firepower ranked them as the second-strongest military force in the world, behind just the US and above China.

In terms of size overall, Russia's army is estimated to be the fifth-largest in the world, with a million active-duty soldiers and two million in reserves. 

But notably, Russia has mandatory conscription, where all men aged 18-27 must be drafted for a year of army service. These conscripts are poorly trained and suffer from poor treatment and hazing. According to EUToday, Russian conscripts make just 2,000 rubles a month, which is currently equivalent to under $17.

At the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering 134,500 new conscripts into the army as part of Russia's annual spring draft, but the Defense Ministry said the call-up had nothing to do with the war in Ukraine.

Jerusalem Post Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.