Russia ‘executing its own soldiers who refuse orders’ in Ukraine
The White House, who released the information, described the claims as 'barbaric'.
US intelligence says it has seen several reports of poor morale among Vladimir Putin’s troops 20 months into the gruelling war.
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said: ‘It’s reprehensible to think about, that you would execute your own soldiers because they didn’t want to follow orders, and now threatening to execute entire units, it’s barbaric.
‘But I think it’s a symptom of how poorly Russia’s military leaders know they’re doing and how bad they have handled this from a military perspective.’
Throughout the conflict in Ukraine, the White House has released intelligence findings about Russia.
Previously the US government has claimed information is shared so Ukraine’s allies have a clear idea about Russia’s intent, as well as any misinformation coming from Putin’s government.
The intelligence concerning alleged executions, however, comes amid President Joe Biden’s efforts to convince the Republican-controlled House to agree to more funding for Ukraine’s armed forces.
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He wants Congress to pass a nearly $106 billion supplemental funding request, unveiled last week, which includes $61 billion for Ukraine.
‘President Putin is not giving up on his aspirations to take all of Ukraine and as long as Russia continues its brutal assault we have to continue to support the Ukrainian people and their self defence, because his intentions are clear,’ Mr Kirby said.
‘Putin basically said that if Western weapons to Ukraine stop, Ukraine would have a week to live.
‘So to ensure that we can continue to do that it’s critical that Congress step up and pass the supplemental requests that the president put forward last week.’
Mr Kirkby did not say how many Russian soldiers had been killed for refusing to follow orders or name any specific units threatened with execution.
There were reports the Wagner Group military contractor, who pulled out of Ukraine after its leader mounted an armed rebellion in June, would execute deserters.
There have also been suggestions from sources, including the British Ministry of Defence, that Russian forces have deployed ‘barrier troops’ that threaten to shoot soldiers trying to flee.
Mr Kirkby added: ‘They are in such desperate need to make some kind of progress, particularly in the Donbas, the Donetsk areas, that they are literally throwing young men into the fight who haven’t been properly trained, haven’t been properly equipped, and certainly are not being properly led.’
Meanwhile, an investigation found drug use among Russian troops in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory is rife.
Getting drugs delivered to the trenches in these areas was easy, the investigation Independent Russian website Verstka found, with one soldier saying: ‘It’s like in Las Vegas.’
The drug use has been linked to boredom and low morale.
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