Humiliating photos show how Vladimir Putin has resorted to sending a ‘Daddy’s Army’ of aging reservists to the Ukrainian front in the ultimate embarrassment for the Kremlin.
Putin, in apparent desperation, ordered the mobilization of an additional 300,000 troops last week in a bid to reverse the fate of his failed invasion, in a move that scared thousands of people who fled the country.
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However, other civilians decided to join the war against Ukraine despite their age, health and limited training, to reinforce the number of troops after the surprising counter-offensive in kyiv, according to the Daily Mail.
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In Sevastopol in Crimea, gray-haired and wrinkled recruits lined up in their uniforms at a ceremony before taking a well-deserved smoke break and then heading to the front.
The images, taken on Tuesday less than a week after Putin’s order, show how rushed the mobilization has been, compared to the minimum six months of training usually provided.
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The number of those who have fled now likely exceeds the number of troops in Putin’s original invasion forces, military intelligence suggests.
The British Ministry of Defense said in its daily update: “In the seven days since President Putin announced the ‘partial mobilization’ there has been a sizeable exodus of Russians seeking to evade the call.”
“While the exact numbers are unclear, it is likely to exceed the size of the total invasion force Russia deployed in February 2022.”
‘The better-off and well-educated are over-represented among those trying to leave Russia.
“When combined with reservists being mobilized, the domestic economic impact of reduced labor availability and accelerating ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant.”
Those sent to war were already lamenting outdated equipment and low morale just weeks after the war broke out, a New York Times investigation claims.
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The accounts of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
Unauthorized phone calls made by soldiers to their families in March on cell phones shared between units near Bucha were intercepted by Ukraine and translated by the Times.
Many troops revealed that the Kremlin had lied about the purpose of the war, showing an early view of the reality on the ground.
A man named Sergey told his girlfriend: ‘Some guys took the armor off the corpses of the Ukrainians and took it themselves. Their NATO armor is better than ours.
Another named Roman told his friend: ‘Everything here is old. It is not modern as it is shown on Zvezda (a state television)’.
A different Sergey told his mother: ‘There were 400 paratroopers. And only 38 of them survived. Because our commanders sent soldiers to the slaughterhouse.
The dire situation for the troops has led to Putin’s mobilization order, which came as Ukrainian forces dealt heavy battlefield setbacks to Moscow.
The mass exodus has created mile-long queues for days at some borders, and local Russian authorities in an area along the border with Georgia said they would begin providing food, water, warming stations and other aid to those who they were in line.
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