Russian soldiers from all across the country were deceived into heading to the Ukrainian border, and some were beaten if they resisted, according to the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, a Russian non-governmental organization that works to expose human rights violations within the military.
The group is reportedly preparing a complaint for the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office alleging that their sons only recently joined the military as conscripts and were told they were going to the border with Ukraine for drills. But their statuses were then abruptly changed to contract soldiers— a role for those with more combat and training experience—and they were suddenly thrust into war.
“They are switching entire regiments to contract [soldiers,] although the guys did not submit any formal requests for this, and took no such initiative. There are instances of physical violence, and beatings of those who refuse to become contract soldiers. And after that it’s completely unknown [what happens to them], because they take away their phones,” Andrei Kurochkin, the deputy chairman of the group, told Takie Dela.
“We've had a flurry of calls from scared mothers all over Russia. They are crying, they don’t know if their children are alive or healthy,” he was quoted saying, adding that it’s a “complete catastrophe” when military service is performed “under duress.”
“If there is a war, then professionals should deal with it, and not untrained ‘green’ guys,” Kurochkin said.
After hours of battles in multiple cities on Thursday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian troops had suffered losses, though they stopped short of providing specific figures. As of Thursday evening, the Russian soldiers were taking “an operational pause and regrouping,” the ministry said.
Ukrainian authorities said two Russian soldiers were also captured.
The claims that some Russian soldiers were literally forced into the war with Ukraine come after Britain’s Defense Ministry released footage it said showed Russia was using mobile crematoriums to conceal its own soldiers’ deaths from the world.
Defense Minister Ben Wallace told The Telegraph the vehicle-mounted crematoriums “evaporate” each body placed inside them.
He described the crematoriums as a “very chilling side effect of how the Russians view their forces.”
“If I was a soldier and knew that my generals had so little faith in me that they followed me around the battlefield with a mobile crematorium, or I was the mother or father of a son, potentially deployed into a combat zone, and my government thought that the way to cover up loss was mobile crematorium, I'd be deeply, deeply worried,” Wallace was quoted saying.
Amid a worldwide outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has been quick to stifle dissent at home. Numerous protests were staged in cities across the country on Thursday, but they were quickly dispersed by riot police who bundled protesters into police vans. OVD-Info, a media resource that tracks arrests during mass protests, reported more than 1,500 arrests in multiple cities.