Russia admits throwing conscripts into battle in Ukraine – ‘Struggling to assemble’

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This is for the first time that Russia has admitted that the military was “struggling to assemble” a large enough force to capture Kyiv. Earlier, Putin and Russian had insisted that “only professional servicemen” were involved in the invasion.

A day earlier, in an International Women’s Day address, Putin had reassured soldiers’ mothers and wives that Russian conscripts were not taking part in his invasion of Ukraine, which he has referred to as a “special military operation.”

Putin said: “I understand how you’re worrying for your beloved ones … I emphasise that conscript soldiers are not participating in hostilities and will not participate in them,” reported Reuters.

He continued: “And there will be no additional call-up of reservists.”

This was despite reports from desperate Russian mothers that their conscript sons had been pressured into joining the war and had since dropped out of contact.

On Wednesday, Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman of the Russian defence ministry, admitted that conscripts were present in the country.

He said: “Unfortunately, we have uncovered several instances of the presence of conscripts in the Russian units taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine.

“Almost all of those servicemen have been taken back to Russia.

“At the same time, a sabotage group of the national battalion attacked one of the units performing logistical support.

“A number of servicemen, including conscripts, were captured.”

While Mr Konashenkov did not give any numbers, he confirmed Ukrainian reports that several conscripts have been taken prisoner.

He said Moscow will take “measures to prevent sending conscripts to combat areas.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly said that before launching the Ukraine attack, Putin had told Russian army commanders to “categorically exclude” conscripts from the conflict and vowed to “punish” officials who sent them there.

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“A number of servicemen, including conscripts, were captured.”

While Mr Konashenkov did not give any numbers, he confirmed Ukrainian reports that several conscripts have been taken prisoner.

He said Moscow will take “measures to prevent sending conscripts to combat areas.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly said that before launching the Ukraine attack, Putin had told Russian army commanders to “categorically exclude” conscripts from the conflict and vowed to “punish” officials who sent them there.

Peskov said military prosecutors had been asked to “verify and legally assess the actions and punish officials responsible for violating this order.”

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