London Defender

The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

Putin invasion in tatters: Russian army officers go AWOL and abandon troops at their posts

The Russian leader has massed his armed forces on Ukraine’s borders and looks set to invade any day now. Recent estimates indicate that there could be up to 200,000 troops ready to storm into Ukraine. Western leaders are making desperate last-ditch attempts to avert a bloody war that could be the biggest conflict in Europe since 1945 and claim tens of thousands of casualties.

Yet the Russian tyrant’s plans could be thrown into chaos as more evidence emerges of a catastrophic collapse in army morale.

The Committee of Soldiers’ Mother, a Russian charity, were sent shocking photos by local residents of troops abandoned at the Dolbino railway station.

Dolbino is a small village in the Belgorod Oblast, close to Ukraine.

Over 100 troops from the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division are pictured crammed into a waiting room, with no facilities to accommodate them.

According to the locals, the soldiers had been at the station for five days without rations and were forced to fend for themselves.

The military personnel are apparently a mixture of conscripts and contracted soldiers.

Conscripts receive a monetary allowance of around just 2,000 rubles or GBP 18 per month.

Locals said many had already run out of money to buy food and no one knew when they might be moved on.

The Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers is a famous charity that provides help to soldiers and their families.

The charity was set up in 1989 at a time when glasnost and perestroika had shed greater light on the abuses within the Soviet military.

It has continued to campaign for the rights of soldiers and their families ever since and is a well-respected organisation within Russia.

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Russian soldiers started arriving in Belarus in January, in preparation for the military exercises that started on February 10.

A local resident from the Belarusian town of Khoyniki located close to the Ukrainian border told Radio Free Europe that troops had been forced to camp out in freezing conditions.

“The soldiers have settled in the surrounding forests,” the local said.

“They drink a lot and sell a lot of their diesel fuel.

“They are living in tents.”