Moscow recruiting women for war with Ukraine - Reports

24 Oct 2023 03:01pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

MOSCOW - According to reports in the Russian media, Moscow has started recruiting women for combat missions in its war against Ukraine, reported German news agency (dpa).

The Important Stories (istories) internet portal, which claims to be one of Russia's only sources of independent investigative journalism, wrote on Monday that women snipers and drone operators were being recruited for a mercenary unit under the command of the Russian Defence Ministry.

The article, with the headline "'Created not only for soups and children'. Russian women have started to be recruited for combat specialties to participate in the war", says that women are being trained in a special sniper squad, and as combat drone operators.

Until now, women in the Russian military have only been used as medics and in the kitchen.

The female soldiers are offered a six-month contract with a monthly salary of the equivalent of about 220,000 rubles (US$2,330). In the event of an injury, there is a bonus of one million to three million rubles and for death, the surviving dependants are to be paid around five million rubles.

Recruitment advertisements appeared in the Russian social network Vkontakte. One of the recruiters told istories that they were looking for women who were already trained in the use of weapons. Beginners would be trained to use weapons within a month.

Russia has been waging a war against neighbouring Ukraine for more than 20 months. Casualties on both sides are believed to be high.

According to estimates by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), between 240,000 and 290,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured since Moscow began its invasion. That includes between 150,000 and 190,000 dead or no longer combat fit. The MoD says its estimates do not include troops from the Wagner mercenary group, or convicts forcibly drafted to the frontline.

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Officially, there have been no figures from Moscow for months. Because of the unexpectedly high losses of his army, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists last autumn.

Experts assume that in view of the presidential election planned for spring 2024, the Kremlin wants to avoid a further mobilisation until then and is therefore recruiting more volunteers. - BERNAMA-dpa