The desperate plight of Vladimir Putin’s creaking war effort is highlighted in footage showing his own soldiers rebelling.
One video shows fighters from the puppet Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) staging a mutiny and refusing to defend the unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
They complain of “threats, blackmail, intimidation and deception” to force them to slaughter Ukrainians .
The other video parades recruited jail inmates at the frontline in the pro-Putin Wagner private army, after being signed up with a promise of their sentences being wiped.
They deny they are “cannon fodder” even though reports suggest hundreds of newly signed up convicts have perished already on the battlefield.
Both cases highlight how Putin is desperately short of troops ready to fight in his bloody war in Ukraine after catastrophic losses in his regular forces.
A statement read by one of the LPR fighters said: “We, servicemen from mobilisation reserve battalion 2740, refuse to go and fight in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR].
“We have fulfilled our duty for the defence of the Luhansk People’s Republic [LPR].
“Victory day was announced by the head of the republic on July 3, 2022 .
“With threats, blackmail, intimidation and lies they are now trying to force us to the territory of the DPR.”
A source told Mozhem Obyasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel: “Employees of military enlistment offices walk the streets and literally take young people by force, although they do not want to fight.
“Naturally, this does not add joy to the population, on the contrary, it causes strong irritation and discontent.”
The prisoners video shows a group from several penal colonies apparently ordered to tell the camera that they are not “cannon fodder” in the Wagner private army which fights alongside Putin’s regular forces.
Putin has raided his own jails to find men willing to be put on the frontline, and the video appears intended to encourage others to agree to bolster his stretched forces facing Ukrainian fightback in several regions.
“Hi there – this is Penal Colony number 7, Velikiy Novgorod,” said one.
“There are rumours we’ve all been killed, that we’ve been used as cannon fodder – don’t believe it.
“Everything is good, everything is fine. We are moving forward, striking Ukrainians and will continue to do so. We will live.”
One says: “Everything is fine. Pity you didn’t come too.
“And the main thing- don’t believe those who say we are used as cannon fodder.”
The released inmates – promised good money and no return to their cells if they survive – claimed they were “not clearing minefields with our feet….”
Another prisoner is from Penal Colony number 9, also in Velikiy Novgorod.
Their message back to other inmates goes on: “Everything is fine, guys. We are all healthy and fine. We are moving forward, killing Ukrainians. We are with you, everything is good!”
A week ago Olga Romanova, German-based head of NGO Russia Behind Bars, said: “The first fight with the participation of jail inmates was on 12 July in Luhansk region.
“It was the first batch of the recruited inmates from colony number 7 . From those 42, five were killed instantly, 12 got wounded.
“This was just the first fight, and then they stopped reporting on losses.”
Romanova later said nearly 200 of the recruited inmates had been killed, according to messages Russia Behind Bars was receiving from relatives.
Lawyer Leonid Krikun said the wounded were in hospital under fake names.
He added: “This likely means the dead will also be buried under nicknames. The question is how would the relatives get the money then. Quite likely they won’t be paid.”
Photo Credit: Getty