Recently mobilized Russian soldiers are decrying "inhumane" conditions, weapons shortages and mistreatment by officers, according to video published by the independent news website The Insider on Wednesday.
Footage of new recruits sleeping on the floor, being armed with outdated rifles and ordered to source their own supplies appeared almost immediately after President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization last month.
Around 500 troops gathered in western Russia’s Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border with no training and no knowledge of where they were being deployed, the latest video’s authors said.
“Nobody needs us,” a voice behind the camera, flanked by uniformed soldiers on a train platform, can be heard saying.
“We’ve lived in animal conditions for a week,” the voice said, adding that the soldiers had received no material support or financial compensation since being called up.
“We’ve spent an absurd amount of money just to feed ourselves, not to mention on ammunition.”
The Insider reported earlier that the soldiers’ wives were forced to spend as much as $2,500 on equipping their husbands. A website set up to answer questions on mobilization states that requiring soldiers to buy their own equipment is illegal. The same website encourages soldiers to bring their own night vision goggles and drones to the battlefield.
It was not clear where the mobilized soldiers depicted in the video were ultimately deployed.
Yury Shvytkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Defense Committee, said Thursday that he had asked the military prosecutor's office and the Investigative Committee to investigate the incident.
Western military analysts have predicted that the Kremlin’s rush to deploy new recruits to the frontlines would result in high death rates, troop unreliability and low morale.
Several recruits were reported to have died before deployment.