“They didn’t hold a machine gun in their hands, and two days later they went to war,” a volunteer told the BBC why he refused a contract with the Ministry of Defense

Russia sends inexperienced volunteers to the most active sectors of the front, whose training lasts from three to seven days, the BBC Russian Service found out .

Volunteers get to the war in Ukraine in three ways: by signing a short-term contract with the Ministry of Defense, by arriving in Chechnya and signing a three-month contract with the National Guard there, or by signing a contract with the armed formations of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR (less often due to lower pay).

One of the volunteers, who was about to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense, told the publication his story (the BBC does not give his real name for security reasons):

“Well, I went. Accepted without medical examination. Apparently, they need to drive the dispatch plan faster, so there is no time for checks and medical examinations. They gathered everyone in a couple of days, they were taken. They arrived at the unit at night. In the morning they dressed me: berets, a uniform, from equipment they gave me a duffel bag of a Soviet model, a waffle towel, a bar of soap and Soviet underwear. Mine was stamped 1960.
Weapons in bulk, all good, in oil. Patrons too. But that's where the pluses end. There is a mess at the training ground, the officers *** [don't give a damn about us]. There is no training in tactics, there is no rallying of personnel. I was already in shock. Some didn’t really hold the machine gun in their hands, they didn’t see the tanks live, and they went to war in a couple of days. It is necessary to break in, fire at the train, how is it? Trite even new berets are rubbed, it is necessary to spread, calluses already on the second day. Knowing this, I came with my own, but everyone was forced to wear what they were given.”

According to him, at the assembly point in Rostov, where he ended up, most of the volunteers were over the age of 45, many of them had health problems:

“Of course, I understand these pensioners. They came there on patriotism. But many have a belly, half in glasses [with diopters] at minus five or more. With me, one peasant fell on the line with a stroke. In general, I looked at it all and realized that this is really a one-way ticket.

Three days later, the man refused the contract and decided to return home: “By that time, we had not yet signed contracts. Therefore, when we were lined up for shooting, I simply refused. And another five people with me failed. It's just *** [crazy], what the fuck are these jokes.

The volunteers who remained in the camp were transferred to Ukraine the next day and then took part in the battles for Raisins, the source told the BBC:

“We are in touch with one guy. He sounded a month, wounded, returned. He says it was difficult, he barely survived. The volunteer guys who came through Grozny came to the rescue. They seemed to have good classes there in tactical medicine, plus sensible first-aid kits. So they wrapped it up and pulled it out. And it would bleed to death."

Earlier, The Insider wrote how men in Chechnya are forcibly sent to fight in Ukraine: security forces intimidate residents, torture and threaten with criminal cases. Many agree to go to war in order to save their families from humiliation, and themselves from cases under terrorist articles and torture.

The Insider spoke to lawyers, human rights activists and the families of Chechens who were forcibly sent to war. According to them, there is no chance to refuse mobilization and only a few manage to escape from the republic.

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