Russian recruits escape military training camp in fresh blow to Putin

Russia: Pawel Jablonski warns Poland ‘next in line’

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Unequipped Russian troops are continuing to suffer deadly defeats in Ukraine despite Vladimir Putin’s efforts to send more men to the front. The Kremlin raised the stakes in the conflict by declaring a partial mobilisation of up to 300,000 reservists in September, but the Russian President continues to face resistance from his own citizens.

Igor Sushko, Executive Director of the Wind of Change Research Group think tank, claimed 20 men called to fight in Ukraine escaped from a training camp.

He wrote: “20 mobilised men allegedly escaped from a military training center, one of them has a cancer diagnosis. However, all 20 were caught and returned so they can fulfil their mission to die in Ukraine.”

It comes as the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) warned over the weekend that Russian forces in Ukraine are “covering up” their humiliating loss in the city of Kherson and other parts of Ukraine. Inexperienced recruits are being put in charge of units that have suddenly found themselves without a commander in chief, the MoD has said.

In an update on the war on Sunday morning, the MoD wrote: “Russia’s recent withdrawal from west of Kherson was conducted in relatively good order compared to previous major Russian retreats during the war.

“During the retreat, vehicle losses were likely in the tens rather than hundreds, while much kit that was left behind was successfully destroyed by Russian forces to deny it to Ukraine.

“This relative success is likely partially due to a more effective, single operational command under General Sergei Surovikin. However, the force remains riven by poor junior and mid-level leadership and cover-up culture.

“For example, in recent months two companies subordinate to the Eastern Military District fled after their commander was killed. Other officers likely lied in an attempt to cover up the incident.”

Britain is sending helicopters to Ukraine for the first time, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced in an escalation of support for Kyiv’s resistance against Putin.

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Three former British military Sea Kings will be reportedly be provided, with the first already in Ukraine. 

They are the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since the Russian President’s invasion began in February.

Mr Wallace also said an extra 10,000 artillery rounds are being sent to help Ukraine secure the territory it has recaptured from the invading forces in recent weeks.

The fresh support comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced £50 million more in defence aid as he visited Kyiv over the weekend.

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During a visit to Norway, Mr Wallace said: “Our support for Ukraine is unwavering. These additional artillery rounds will help Ukraine to secure the land it has reclaimed from Russia in recent weeks.”

The Royal Navy provided six weeks’ training on Sea Kings in the UK for Ukraine’s armed forces and engineers, the Ministry of Defence said.

The fresh support follows a commitment to provide 1,000 surface-to-air missiles and 125 anti-aircraft guns.

Mr Wallace is in Norway meeting allied defence ministers on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

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