Russian Authorities Dispatched Conscripts To War on Ukraine
Earlier, the Defense Ministry and Russian leader promised that the inexperienced soldiers will not be in military contingents in combat zones.
At the beginning of the military campaign in Ukraine, the Russian authorities promised not to send conscripts to the combat zone. Nevertheless, in March, the Ministry of Defense admitted that they served in Ukraine. The military promised to withdraw all conscripts back to Russia.
18-year-old soldiers who signed a contract only a few months earlier are a rule, not an exception, in the Russian army.
On April 11, family and friends buried 18-year-old paratrooper Mr. Andrei Ogibalov in Tyumen. He died in a military hospital on April 4, having been seriously wounded during an artillery shelling near Kyiv. His mother, Ms. Lyubov Talanova, stated that Andrei turned 18 in June, and a month later, he was drafted into the army.
In February, he told me they headed for exercises in Belarus, Ms. Talanova stated. I found out that after the drill, they moved to the border with Ukraine. When he called, I asked him: Are you at the combat point? He laughed and said, Mom, everything will be all right. He did not answer. He did not want me to worry. But I already realized that they are not at the border, but somewhere out there, in another place .
To serve in the army was Andrey Ogibalov's main dream. While studying at school, he played football, hockey, karate, and taekwondo. He prepared for service in the Airborne Forces.
His grandfather died last year, she said. He served in the Airborne Forces. My older sister's husband is also a military man. Andryusha, who had known them since childhood, followed their path. He wanted to be a paratrooper, like my grandfather, Ms. Talanova said. He did not consider other options except the Airborne Forces. In the enlistment office, he said: "I want to join the Airborne Forces, and I will not enlist in other troops." He dreamed about it, and his dream came true and he achieved his goal, she added.
"It's one thing to shoot at targets, it's another thing to shoot at people"
Soldiers as young as 18 years old seem to be core, not an additional force, in the Russian army. At least, they died in first in failed war on Ukraine.
On March 15, 18-year-old David Harutyunyan, who served in the Pskov Guards Airborne Assault Division, was buried in the Trans-Baikal city of Kyakhta. He died on March 1 - a week before his 19th birthday, when the combat vehicle came under artillery fire.
On the first day of the war, 18-year-old Yegor Melnikov from Belogorsk city in Amur Region, died. "He is my son Yegor! Yegor Eduardovich! I'm proud! I'm not ashamed! Mom Pochkaenko Inna Yuryevna! He died in the line of military duty in Ukraine on February 24, 22. Glory to the heroes!" - wrote his father, Eduard Melnikov, who heads the Belogorsk sports and recreation center (the message has now been deleted).
On April 16, in the village of Shapkino, Krasnoyarsk Territory, the family said goodbye to 18-year-old Roman Akimov, who signed a contract immediately after being drafted. Three months later, the army dispatched him to the war. At the end of March, President posthumously rewarded 18-year-old sailor Vladimir Belomestnov with the Order of Courage, a native of the Trans-Baikal village of Etytei.
You are unlikely to find his parents, stated Belomestnov's distant relative. - In this village, there is not even a cellular phone network. He joined the army hoping for a better life because Etytei village offers no perspective. Everything is here devastated. The contracted soldier can count on a decent wage and receive a bonus if he goes to the combat zone. Nobody knew that it would happen.
It is too early for people like Andrey to go there, stated Lyubov Talanova. At first, he received initial military training and was sent from Pskov to Omsk to learn the operation of an infantry fighting vehicle driver and be an army mechanic. In February, after a month-long course, the army dispatched him there. They have not learned anything yet. These young people have not seen anything. It is one thing to shoot at targets, but quite another thing to shoot at people. I think those who return will be mentally disturbed, she added.
"I watch the news and my heart bleeds"
Ms. Lyubov Talanova's avatar is a big letter Z in flames which in the Russian propaganda language is a symbol that Moscow has won.
She watches Kremlin-controlled TV every day and believes the propagandists.
– It is unfair that since 2014 both the LNR and the DNR have been bombed. I am aware of it, I watch the news, and sometimes I worry about people. There are a lot of ours, Russians, sorry for the people. Once upon a time, justice must prevail. I am always for justice, I try never to offend anyone, and I raised my son in the same way. And what they did there should be punished. People feel sorry for the purely human. I heard that they were going to attack us, God forbid. We would have a war in Russia, why? And the fact that Russia helps and takes people out of there - many thanks for that. I believe that if we went to their aid, then we must help to the end. I do not doubt that we are doing everything right.
Conscripted soldiers in Ukraine who did not sign contracts accompany 18-year-old contract soldiers in Ukraine. For example, in March, 22-year-old Yevgeny Gulchak from Nizhnevartovsk, who was drafted into the army after graduating from an architectural university, died in a military hospital. On February 21, Mr. Gulchak stopped communicating. Relatives searched for the soldier for almost a month, and they found him on March 19, five days before his death.
This article is the translation of a report published first by the Radio Liberty/Svoboda.