'Skin And Bones': Russian Soldiers Rob Civilians After Being Hit By Supply Shortage

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Russian soldiers have been patrolling the streets in Volnovakha in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic
Russian soldiers have been patrolling the streets in Volnovakha in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic

Stories of acute shortage of food and other supplies faced by Russian soldiers in Ukraine are pouring in from many Russian towns. According to the soldiers, the paucity of supplies forced them to rob civilians. 

The traumatic experiences faced by the troops came to light after hundreds of Russian Guard servicemen, who served on the battlefront in Ukraine, returned home and narrated their woes. In May, dozens of soldiers had returned to Buryatia and Transbaikalia. 

The mother of a soldier, identified as Ekaterina from the city of Ulan-Ude, told Radio Svoboda that her son was literally "skin and bones" when he arrived from Ukraine. The man, who was just under 100 kilograms before he went to Ukraine, weighed just 60 on return. "He didn't tell anything initially, he said it's all a military secret," Ekaterina told the news outlet. 

However, he later opened up and revealed that all they got was a loaf of bread and a can of stew a day, that too for a platoon of 10 healthy guys. "Then it became more - two rolls and two cans of stew. I don’t know what happened there, something happened to the convoy," she added.

Many from the town of Buryatia added that the shortage was not only with food. The residents, who spoke to the soldiers were told about how the troops had to leave the battlefront unprepared. They moved to the enemy territory in unarmored vehicles, putting their lives at stake. 

Another woman, a resident of the Ural city, said her husband had not yet returned from the "exercises" in Belarus, though he was promised a "shift change" back in March. The woman told the news outlet that she wrote to the authorities but did not get a clear reply. She said her husband told her how they slept on the floor for half a month and there was nothing to change into. "He went almost in summer uniforms, and at the end of February, frost hit there, he suffered pneumonia on his legs," she added.

The soldiers were also forced to shave their heads due to lice infestation caused by unhygienic living conditions.

Many servicemen complain about how they were let down by communication failure. "Due to these singed walkie-talkies, our own people almost knocked us out several times," a military man who returned from Donetsk told Radio Svoboda.  

Another soldier narrates how they had to expropriate things from civilians. "We asked for medicines, soap accessories, razors. Well, yes, I understand that they were not given out of the kindness of their hearts, but I didn’t hold them at gunpoint either. We did not take food and water, it is dangerous - they said that they were being poisoned on purpose. Not to death, but you run into the toilet with their 'pies," a military man told one of the Khabarovsk units on condition of anonymity.


Russian soldiers have been patrolling the streets in Volnovakha in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic

Photo: AFP / Alexander NEMENOV

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