Soldiers Are Refusing To Take Part In Russia's Latest Offensive Against Ukraine, Says UK

British officials believe Moscow is struggling to "motivate" its forces, six months into the war.
Some soldiers are refusing to join Russia's latest offensive operation against Ukraine
Some soldiers are refusing to join Russia's latest offensive operation against Ukraine
Contributor via Getty Images

Soldiers from Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia are refusing to join in with Moscow’s latest offensive, UK officials claim.

The Ministry of Defence revealed that clips on Ukrainian social media channels show parts of a military unit from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic “delivering a declaration outlining their refusal to be deployed as part of offensive operations in Donestk Oblast”.

The Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) announced it was independent from Ukraine in May 2014, at the same time as its neighbour Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), led by Russian-backed separatists.

Both of these territories border with Russia and the majority speak Russian – meaning it’s pretty significant that soldiers there are refusing to fight.

Luhansk and Donetsk are part of the Donbas region, an area in eastern Ukraine which has been at the forefront of the war since April.

PA Graphics via PA Graphics/Press Association Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised the two states as independent of Ukraine in February 2022, a move which accelerated Moscow’s invasion.

The MoD explained: “The fighters claimed they had fulfilled their duty in securing the LPR’s control over all of Luhansk Oblast, which was secured in July 2022, and were unwilling to fight in Donetsk Oblast despite threats and intimidation by senior commanders.”

The Ministry of Defence added: “Russia is likely increasingly struggling to motivate the auxiliary forces it is using to augment its regular troops in the Donbas.

“Commanders are probably resorting to direct financial incentives, while some combat units are deemed unreliable for offensive operations.

“A consistent contributing factor to these problems is Russia’s classification of the war as a ‘special military operation’ which limits the state’s powers of legal coercion.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly refused to classify its invasion of Ukraine as a war, instead calling it a “special military operation” which aimed to “demilitarise” the country.

This is not the first time soldiers have refused to fight for the Russian cause.

Russian paratrooper Pavel Filatyev spent April and May this year posting on Vkontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, about his experience on the war, and claimed the Kremlin had “no moral right” to launch such an offensive on Ukraine.

An extract shared by The Washington Post claims: “They simply decided to shower Ukraine with our corpses in this war.”

Towards the beginning of the invasion, there were also protests around Russia in solidarity with Ukraine but they were soon hushed up.

Despite growing dissent, on Monday, a senior Russia diplomat Gennady Gatilov warned that Moscow does not envision a diplomatic solution to end the war. He said: “The more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution.”

Tensions are also high within Russia, after an explosion just outside of Moscow killed the daughter of a Putin ally on Sunday.

Alexander Dugin, often dubbed Putin’s “brain”, and his daughter Daria Dugina, both supported the Russian invasion over the years and thought Moscow could succeed only if Ukraine was destroyed. Dugina was killed in a suspected car bomb attack.

The Ukrainian government has denied it was responsible for the explosion.

Mykhailo Podolyak, top adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, even claimed the violence came down to Russia’s domestic instability, suggesting it was an anti-invasion attack.

He said: “Every person is supposed to pay for their words.”


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