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According to Russian pundit Dmitry Puchkov, inexperienced new recruits must be sent to the front as older Russian soldiers are now too damaged by “constant” drinking to properly fight the enemy.

During a discussion with Ivan Pankin, host of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, the creator of the Russian Media Monitor, film and video translator said: “We will have to create a normal people’s army where everyone who is fit will have to serve, they will have to serve the minimum of two years or three years in the navy.

“There is no way to get trained in the shorter term.

“Next, it will turn out that those trained 18-year-olds will have to be sent to the front to take part in combat instead of calling up 40-year-olds with higher education, a business, a wife and three children whose death at the front will cause the necessity of paying a pension to the wife, to the children etc.”

He added: “Instead, 18-year-olds will go, no matter how cynical this sounds, they will have to be sent.

“There is no way around it – no way. All of those talks about people who previously fought and served in hot spots.

“Citizens, do you have a clear understanding about the physical state of a Russian 40-year-old man or at 50 years of age? Can he run, jump, sleep on the cold ground? How is his prostate? How are his kidneys after a constant consumption of alcohol?

“What is he to you, some kind of monster? No. Children will have to go serve in the army, they’ll serve for two years and take part in combat.

“This is the only way. And this is the kind of army we can anticipate. That’s what I believe.”