The Russian government is reportedly believed to be sending women prisoners to the front line in Ukraine for the first time to make up for heavy losses of Russian military.
Due to ‘heavy losses’ in the war, Vladimir Putin has sought ‘alternative sources of replenishment of manpower,’ the Ukrainian armed forces general staff said.
It added: ‘Last week there was a movement towards the Donetsk region of a train with reserved seats for transporting prisoners. One of the carriages [was for] convicted women.
Earlier this week, there were reports that Russia had moved women convicts to Kuschevka in Krasnodar region, close to the war zone.
Olga Romanova, of Russian Behind Bars foundation, believes around 100 women were sent to Ukraine.
Over the months, male prisoners have been recruited in Russia in their tens of thousands and offered a deal that cancels their sentences if they serve and stay alive for six months on the frontline.
According to the Mirror, murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals have been released and ultimately freed by Putin, with most convicts serving with the Wagner private army.
But Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed last month that his group will no longer recruit prisoners to fight in Ukraine – without providing an explanation as to why.
However, there is now evidence that the Russian defence ministry is directly signing up convicts.
Last month the Ukrainian general staff said that Russia was actively ‘trying to recruit convicted women to participate in the hostilities’.
This was to ‘compensate for losses in personnel’.
‘It is also known that they are sent to the territory of the Russian Federation for training,’ the Ukrainian general staff said.
Also, there was credible information that Russia had moved women convicts to Kuschevka in Krasnodar region, close to the war zone.
Here some female prisoners, released under a special scheme linked to the war effort, were put to work as farm labourers in field as well as ‘greenhouses and cowsheds’, possibly deployed in supplying the military.
Several hundred women in prisons in the Sverdlovsk region in the Ural District – asked local MP Vyacheslav Wegner to send them to Ukraine, it was reported.
Prigozhin, head of Wagner, said there had been ‘resistance’ among the Russian authorities to deploy women in the war zone.