“Russia, prisoners are used as bullets in the Ukrainian war… they will be released if they come back alive”

picture explanationRussian soldiers in the occupation of Melitopol in the Zaporiza region of southeastern Ukraine guard a hoisting pole in the city square where their flag is hung, on the 15th (local time). [사진 출처 = 연합뉴스]

Reports have emerged that Russia is recruiting its prisoners as ‘bullet catchers’ to be sent to the front lines of the Ukrainian war. The cost of participating in the war is amnesty and money.

According to foreign media such as The Telegraph on the 6th (local time), Russian investigative news media IStoriz reported that such a proposal for prisoners in the St. Petersburg prison was being made secretly.

If they return alive six months after being sent to the battlefield, they will pay 200,000 rubles (about 4.1 million won) and immediately release regardless of the remaining sentence. There is also a condition that if you die during the war, 5 million rubles will be paid to the bereaved family.

According to the report, at first, it was selected from among prisoners with military service experience, but now it is known that it is possible to apply without military experience. However, prisoners who have served more than 20 years in prison are excluded.

There are currently about 200 applicants, and about 40 of them are said to have undergone a pre-test, such as a lie detector. Prisoners selected through this process will be sent to the battlefield as ‘ghost soldiers’ without identification.

An inmate’s family interviewed IStorys said, “I said to the prisoner, ‘I will give you a chance to defend the country’.

According to them, all explanations and procedures were done orally, and nothing was left in writing.

IStorys estimated that the Russian private military company ‘Wagner’ was behind the recruitment of prisoners, and that the Russian Federal Security Service may have been directly or indirectly involved in this incident.

Meanwhile, as the Russian-Ukraine war prolongs, the number of casualties is increasing. Russia has not disclosed the number of casualties since the start of the war on February 24, but the British government recently estimated that 25,000 Russian soldiers were killed in the war.

[배윤경 매경닷컴 기자]
[ⓒ 매일경제 & mk.co.kr, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]

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