Espreso. Global

Number of deserters in Russian army increases tenfold — human rights activists

20 February, 2024 Tuesday
18:43

The number of people willing to desert the Russian army in Ukraine has increased tenfold over the past year - and these are only those who have used the help of human rights activists

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This was reported on Telegram of Off to the Woods project, which helps Russians avoid fighting in the war.

While in January 2023, 28 deserters turned to the organisation, in January 2024, the number increased to 284 people, or 914.3% more.

Deserters accounted for 36% of the total number of people who contacted the project last month. Of these, 30% were mobilised, 50% were soldiers who signed a contract after the war began, and 10% were contract soldiers who joined the army before February 24, 2022. Another 10% accounted for the rest.

Human rights activists note that contract soldiers are not always volunteers who have been subjected to propaganda and recruitment. Some of them are conscripts who have been forcibly transferred to the contract service. The soldiers declare their desire to escape from the army and seek help because they "have seen the horrors of war, seen people treated as expendable and cannon fodder, realised that they are not fighting against 'fascists', that what they were told on TV is a lie," according to the group.

  • On 18 February, it was reported that over 4 months of attempts to capture Avdiivka, the Russian army lost more than 47,000 soldiers.
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