It seems Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military are not on the same page.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that conscripts had been sent to war in Ukraine, contradicting Putin’s assertion that conscripted soldiers “are not participating and will not participate” in the conflict, The New York Times reports.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies reported in 2020 that Russia’s army comprised 260,000 conscripts — who serve 12-month stints — and 410,000 volunteers, or “contract soldiers.” The CSIS also said Russia has been working to reduce its reliance on conscripts since 2008.
Per the Times, “[t]he deployment of often young and poorly trained conscripts” in Russia’s wars in Afghanistan (1979–1989) and Chechnya (1994–1996 and 1999–2000) was deeply unpopular in Russia.
Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday that “some of the conscripts” sent to fight in Ukraine had been captured by Ukrainian forces but that “almost all” of them have been recalled to Russia, according to Radio Free Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was told that his order to exclude conscripts from the “special military operation” had been “fulfilled” and has ordered in an investigation to “punish those responsible for not fulfilling that instruction,” the Times reported.
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