Ukraine’s civilians aboard buses provided with the support of human-rights organisations have finally been allowed to flee some of Russia-besieged cities like Mariupol. Evacuees include women and children, as Ukrainian men usually stay to fend off what could be depleted Russian forces. According to a warfare researcher, Vladimir Putin’s war force could shrink because of an increasing number of escapes to conscription in Russia.
Speaking French TV channel Public Sénat, researcher Christine Dugoing said: “What we see is that there is a tendency or an attempt to try to escape conscription for many.”
“Conscripts are subjected to psychological and physical violence and deprivation, and there are even men who disappear.”
Despite an initial “strong sense of patriotism” and “glorification of arms”, conscripts are now resorting to different means to escape the war, the researcher said.
She continued: “You still have corruption which is still endemic in Russia.
“So, when you have the means, the ability, the knowledge, well, by corrupt principles, you can get away with it.
“You also have all the parallel methods: marriage with a single mother, resumption of studies, medical certificate.
“And then there are those who can’t, either because they don’t know how to do it, or because they don’t have the means to do it.”
Ms Dupoing also notes that some Russians want to fight for their country out of a sense of patriotism.
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“And we can see that for many, we were dealing with ethnic minorities, with names that are not classic.”
The Russian army has reportedly tried to hide the exact number of Russian casualties in Ukraine.
Russian and Ukrainian officials have given varying death tolls amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, making it difficult to estimate it.
While the Kremlin has admitted “significant losses”, it has refused to acknowledge any death toll in Ukraine.