Russian conscripts are taking their own lives to avoid fighting in Ukraine, according to local media reports. Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” towards the end of September in a bid to boost his frontline troops in Ukraine. The Russian army has suffered huge casualties since it invaded in February, leading to a chronic lack of manpower on the ground.
Ukraine’s army claims around 67,000 Russian have been killed in action, while a leaked FSB document suggested a total of 90,000 men have died, been injured or reported missing.
The Kremlin said that it would initially mobilise 300,000 men to beef up its ground forces.
Ethnic regions have largely borne the brunt of Putin’s mobilisation efforts, whether it be through the formation of volunteer battalions or the present compulsory draft.
One such region is the autonomous republic of Tatarstan, home to almost four million Tartars.
According to an investigative journalist, six conscripts at a military base near the capital Kazan have already hanged themselves in apparent acts of suicide.
More are reported to have fled the training camp, as they seek to avoid being sent to fight in Putin’s war.
Farida Kurbangaleeva wrote on her Facebook page: “And now news about the mobilised from near Kazan.
“There are already six reservists who hanged themselves.
“According to a source, the last of them hanged himself the day before, right in his tent.
“At least two men committed suicide in the toilet – a hastily constructed corrugated board construction near the camp with holes in the floor.
She said that police had been sent to investigate the deaths and psychological tests would be carried out.
Ms Kurbangaleeva noted that several conscripts had run away and that the entrance and exit points to the training camp were not secured.
READ MORE: Britons scramble to swerve blackouts with £1,400 batteries
On Friday, the Russian President created a government “coordination council” to help the military reach its goals in Ukraine.
Among other tasks, the council will form plans to supply the military, as well as define the volume and direction of the Russian state budget to support the war effort.
Western analysts argue this is a clear indication that Putin has no intention of de-escalating the conflict.
Researchers from the Institute for the Study of War wrote in their Friday war briefing: “The creation of this new coordinating body instead sets conditions for a high level of mobilisation of the Russian state, economy, and society for continued high-intensity conventional military operations for the foreseeable future.
“Putin continues to show his willingness to pay a high price in domestic discontent to pursue a military resolution of the war he initiated on his terms, showing through his actions a marked disinterest in any serious concessions or ceasefire negotiations that could lead to sustainable peace.”