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Russian Job Sites Recruit Trench Diggers for Occupied Ukraine, Border Areas

Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's Telegram channel

Russian job sites are advertising trench- and fortification-digging jobs in occupied Ukrainian and nearby Russian regions, independent media reported Thursday.

Russia started building defensive fortifications near the front lines as well as in its border regions following alleged Ukrainian counterstrikes that stoked authorities' fears of further attacks that could reach deeper into Russian territory.

Popular Russian classifieds services and social networks are displaying ads seeking unskilled shift workers for manual labor jobs in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region; southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region; and western Russia’s Belgorod region, according to the Mozhem Obyasnit’ Telegram news outlet.

Potential employees are offered up to $4,000 for one to three months of shift work digging trenches, building fortifications and dugouts and installing anti-tank obstacles.

The recruiter, StroyKom, is a professional employer organization that lists the Crimean Bridge, which links the annexed peninsula to mainland Russia, among its major projects. 

The Crimean Bridge and Crimea itself have been hit by a number of strikes since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, prompting Crimea’s Russian-installed governor to order the construction of defensive fortifications in November.

Employer review websites criticize StroyKom for delaying or refusing to pay wages and providing poor living conditions, Mozhem Obyasnit’ reported.

“Don’t take the bait [...] no matter how much they promise you,” one reviewer was quoted as saying. “Run away from there.”

The defensive works follow a sweeping counteroffensive by Kyiv's forces this fall that has seen the return of the Kharkiv region in the northeast and the strategic southern hub of Kherson to Ukrainian control.

This week, Ukrainian defense officials assessed that Moscow is digging in for a long war and could be preparing to launch a new offensive as soon as February 2023.

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