Now Russia is trying to recruit homeless men to its bedraggled army

Vladimir Putin has avoided calling his invasion of Ukraine a war, meaning that legally he can only send volunteers into battle and not conscripts - SPUTNIK
Vladimir Putin has avoided calling his invasion of Ukraine a war, meaning that legally he can only send volunteers into battle and not conscripts – SPUTNIK

Russian army recruiters in St Petersburg have tried to persuade homeless men to sign up as soldiers to fight in Ukraine as they struggle to boost the military’s manpower.

The Nochlezhka charity said officials had targeted its homeless shelters in a central district of the city.

“(A recruiter) offered to hand out leaflets explaining that men were to be called to serve under contracts,” the Rotunda news service quoted an unnamed source at Nochlezhka as saying. “The duty officer [at the shelter] did not allow the leaflets to be handed out.”

Rotunda, a St Petersburg-based news service that publishes on the Telegram social media channel, said that officials at the city administration had confirmed that a recruiter “using his own initiative” had tried to recruit from the city’s homeless population.

The Kremlin has ordered regions across Russia to raise so-called volunteer battalions to fight in its war in Ukraine but the uptake has been slow.

Maximum age of recruits increased

To boost numbers it has already increased the maximum age of recruits to 59 years, if they have previous military experience, and is offering signing-on bonuses of around £5,000.

The Russian army is also relying on the Wagner mercenary group to plug gaps in its frontline in Ukraine.

Wagner has launched a public recruitment campaign for the first time and is also actively recruiting from Russia’s prisons.

Rotunda has also reported that Russian army recruiters have been told to consider former soldiers who had been dismissed for ill-discipline or crimes.

The Kremlin had wanted to protect St Petersburg and Moscow from raising volunteer battalions but with drives slowing on its poorer fringes and casualties mounting, it has been forced to drop this plan.

Vladimir Putin has avoided calling his invasion of Ukraine a war, meaning that legally he can only send volunteers into battle and not conscripts.

Published by anthonyhayble

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