Thousands of Russian troops are refusing to return to the frontline in Ukraine as their morale plummets, according to the UK.
Two soldiers were last week sentenced to serve at least two years in a penal colony after being convicted of disobeying orders to fight.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was reported last month that nearly 100 Russian soldiers a week after being convicted for refusing to go into battle as the war drags on.
“If this trend continues, there will be approximately 5,200 convictions a year for refusing to fight,” the MoD’s latest intelligence update said.
“The high rate of convictions demonstrates the poor state of morale in the Russian Army and the reluctance of some elements to fight.”
The MoD said that was a result of a “lack of training, motivation and high stress situations” faced by Russian forces in the war.
They added: “Although some soldiers have refused to fight and attrition rates remain high, Russia highly likely mitigates their loss by committing a mass of poorly trained soldiers to the frontline.”
It emerged yesterday that Russia is failing to hit its army recruitment targets despite a massive rise in forces’ pay.
Russia is estimated to have suffered more than 200,000 casualties so far in the Ukraine war.
The MoD revealed last month that up to half of Russian fatalities in the war could also have been prevented “with proper first aid”, while crude battlefield medical treatment is causing a huge number of preventable fatalities and amputations.
Meanwhile, at least half of the elite 30,000 Russian paratroopers deployed to Ukraine have probably been killed or wounded.