Putin 'creating disquiet' in recruitment of more soldiers says Clarke
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Professor Michael Clarke, a defence and security analyst, suggested “there’s a lot of disquiet in Russia” as the tens of thousands of injured troops returning home “have a bigger psychological effect” on the public mood than the soldiers killed in battle. Prof Clarke added that Putin is recruiting “non-Russian nationalities from the east” to bolster his efforts in Ukraine amid heavy losses, but that “they’ve used the best” of their forces to no avail.
Prof Clarke told Sky News: “There’s a lot of disquiet in Russia. The evidence is all anecdotal but there’s a lot of it.
“Russian losses are pretty big, at least 15,000 killed, and that probably means another 45,000 injured because there’s normally a three to one ratio between dead and injured.
“In most societies, it’s the injured coming home that have a bigger psychological effect, sometimes, than those who are killed.
“And so there’s a fair amount of evidence of disquiet. The Russians are trying to mobilise quietly.
“President Putin does not want to create a national mobilisation because then he would have to say that this is a war and that’s exactly what he has said it is not.
“But they’re running short of troops. The standing army of Russia is only 280,000 and they’ve committed 190,000 of that to Ukraine already.
“So they’ve used the best and now they’re trying to find the rest from somewhere else.
“They’re trying informally to recruit soldiers from the east, particularly non-Russian nationalities from the east, and that’s creating some disquiet.”
Russian soldiers are now facing a score of war crimes charges, adding to the difficulties of recruitment and further worsening public mood at home.
A 21-year-old Russian tank commander became the first troop to be sentenced to life in prison today, by order of a Ukrainian court.
Vadim Shishimarin, who fatally shot 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka four days after Russia invaded Ukraine, pleaded guilty to the crime and begged for forgiveness from the widow of the deceased.
Judge Serhiy Agafonov, who presided over the case, said: “Given that the crime committed is a crime against peace, security, humanity and the international legal order … the court does not see the possibility of imposing a (shorter) sentence.”
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But Kyiv today acknowledged its heaviest losses from one single attack, saying 87 people had been killed after a single strike hit a barracks housing troops at a training base in the north.
The high death toll demonstrates Russia’s ability to inflict huge losses on Ukraine, even far from the front.
President Volodymyr Zelensky made public the toll during a speech on Monday by video link to business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.
Ukraine had previously said at least eight people were killed in the May 17 attack, while giving few details. The toll was more than double the number killed in a similar attack on a Ukrainian training base in Yaraviv in the west in March.
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