Russia refuses to risk equipment to evacuate wounded in Ukraine: report

Russian military commanders are reportedly choosing to conserve equipment rather than saving the lives of wounded troops on the battlefield in Ukraine, and reportedly “refuse” to risk supplies to evacuate their wounded soldiers.

The internationally condemned invasion of the Kremlin in Ukraine has entered its fourth month after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces failed in their first campaign to quickly seize control of the eastern European nation. Even as Putin significantly reduced his military’s objectives to focus on conquering the Luhansk Oblast to the east, Russia continues to face significant casualties and setbacks.

In an assessment of the invasion on Saturday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) cited reports that there was an “eroded military professionalism” in the leadership of Moscow’s armed forces.

“Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian commanders are attempting to preserve military equipment by prohibiting drivers from evacuating wounded soldiers or resupplying units that have advanced too far. Refusing to risk equipment to evacuate wounded personnel on the battlefield – except in exceptional circumstances – is a notable violation of basic principles of military professionalism. Such behavior can have a serious impact on soldiers’ morale and combat readiness, and risk being injured outside their own lines of defense,” the ISW analysis explained.

russian dead
Russian military commanders are reportedly “refusing” to evacuate wounded soldiers because they don’t want to risk equipment. Above: Members of a Ukrainian civil-military cooperation team remove the bodies of dead Russian soldiers from a refrigerated train May 24 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
John Moore/Getty Images

Although the ISW said it could not independently verify the reports, it noted that “comments by Russian milbloggers provide some circumstantial support” for the information.

“Russian milblogger Alexander Zhychkovskiy criticized the Russian military command’s disregard for reservists on the front lines of the deprioritized Zaporizhia Oblast. Zhychkovskiy reported that Russian commanders were holding lightly equipped infantry units in areas of intense Ukrainian artillery fire with no significant artillery support and other units were not rotating through these areas to relieve them,” the ISW report continued.

“Zhychkovskiy noted that Russian commanders are responsible for high casualties and cases of insanity among soldiers. Another milblogger, Alexander Khodarkovsky, said that Russian commanders are not sending reinforcements in a timely manner, which prevents Russian forces from resting between ground attacks,” he added.

Meanwhile, more than 100 members of Russia’s national guard – the Rosgwardia, previously described as Putin’s “private army” – have been fired after “denying” their assignment to take part in the military campaign against Ukraine. Troops of the Rosgvardia, a native force separate from the Russian military, reportedly chose to return to their base rather than fight.

Putin’s attack on Ukraine prompted a rapid international backlash immediately after it was launched. A large majority of members of the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn the March 2 full-scale invasion. Only four nations – Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria – voted alongside Russia against the widely supported UN resolution.

The US and its NATO allies were quick to impose significant financial sanctions on the Russian economy, the Moscow elite and Putin himself. They have added billions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid to Kiev’s armed forces, which have so far largely repelled Russia’s westward advance.

news week has asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for an opinion. Russia refuses to risk equipment to evacuate wounded in Ukraine: report

Rick Schindler

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