Russian prisons and companies recruit Ukrainian ‘volunteers’ – reports
Prisons and businesses across Russia are recruiting volunteers to fight in Ukraine, independent media reported this week.
The effort appears to be an attempt by the Russian military to replace exhausted forces after a crushing four-month effort to capture territories in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Wagner, a private military company linked to the Kremlin, is said to have Free prisoners in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod have high salaries and a potential amnesty for six months of service, reports the investigative newspaper iStories.
“My relative was told: ‘It’s very difficult to detect Nazis there [in Ukraine]they are very well trained,” the family member of an unnamed inmate told iStories, recounting their relative’s account of an encounter with recruiters.
“They said, ‘You’ll be at the forefront to help detect Nazis, so not everyone will be coming back. “”
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 with the stated aim of “denazifying and demilitarizing” its pro-Western neighbor. After struggling to take the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Moscow shifted its focus to eastern Ukraine for the second phase of the campaign in late March.
Instead of written contracts, prison volunteers would be offered verbal promises of 5 million rubles ($90,500) to be paid to their families in the event of death.
At a St. Petersburg prison, 200 inmates initially expressed interest in the offer, and 40 eventually signed up, iStories said.
When relatives of the inmates contacted the warden of the same prison about the event, he said he was hearing about the recruitment campaign for the “first time”, iStories reported.
Similar recruitment campaigns have been reported in two shipyards run by the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Metalloinvest mining works of billionaire Alisher Usmanov, according to the Russian service of the Moscow Times.
Usmanov and the United Shipbuilding Corporation are currently under US, UK and European sanctions for their involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Superintendents of the Admiralty and Baltic shipyards in St. Petersburg reportedly offered workers contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry with monthly salaries of 300,000 rubles ($5,300).
“It looks like they chose only those who reside in St. Petersburg [to attend the recruitment event]said an unnamed Admiralty shipyard employee. He reportedly received a summons to report to a military enlistment office in early June.
Shipyard employees were then interviewed at the enlistment office, with recruiters eventually asking, “Do you agree to serve under [military] Contract?” None of his colleagues agreed to the terms, the worker told the Moscow Times.
At Metalloinvest’s Lebedinsky mining and processing plant in the border town of Belgorod, a worker told the Moscow Times that a recruitment drive had been underway for several months.
Metalloinvest denied that its mining works offered miners to sign up for military service. The United Shipbuilding Corporation did not respond to requests for comment.