To compensate for heavy losses, the Russian government is said to have sent female prisoners to the front lines in Ukraine for the first time.
The Ukrainian army claims that President Vladimir Putin sought “alternative sources of replenishment of manpower” due to “heavy losses” in the war.
‘Last week, there was a movement of a train with reserved seats for transporting prisoners towards the Donetsk region,’ it added. One of the carriages was designated for convicted women.’
There were reports earlier this week that Russia had relocated female convicts to Kuschevka in the Krasnodar region, close to the war zone.
According to Olga Romanova of the Russian Behind Bars foundation, around 100 women were sent to Ukraine.
In recent months, tens of thousands of male prisoners have been recruited in Russia and offered a deal in which their sentences will be commuted if they serve and survive for six months on the frontlines.
Murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals have been released and eventually freed by Putin, with the majority of convicts serving in Wagner’s private army.
However, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin stated last month that his organization will no longer recruit prisoners to fight in Ukraine, without explaining why.
However, there is now evidence that the Russian defense ministry is signing up convicts directly.
The Ukrainian general staff stated last month that Russia was actively attempting to recruit convicted women to participate in hostilities. This was to ‘compensate for personnel losses’.
Some came from a women’s penal colony in Snezhnoye, a city in the occupied Donetsk region.
‘It is also known that they are sent to Russian Federation territory for training,’ said the Ukrainian general staff.
According to reports, several hundred women in prison in the Sverdlovsk region of the Ural District have asked local MP Vyacheslav Wegner to send them to Ukraine.
The head of Wagner, Prigozhin, stated that there was’resistance’ among Russian authorities to deploying women in the war zone.