Ukrainian defence sources claim that some Russian soldiers are switching sides and forming a new regiment to fight Putin’s invasion force.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said on Telegram said the "first volunteers" of what they are calling the “Freedom of Russia Legion” had already started training, and showed off a video clip of this new unit being trained in the use of the Swedish-made NLAW anti-tank weapon.
The video’s narrator said the Russian soldiers had ”expressed a common desire on behalf of all the volunteers to conduct the first battle against the guard dogs of the Putin regime — the Kadyrovites."
The “Kadyrovites” are Chechen fighters loyal to Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has recently joined Russia's forces in Ukraine., accompanied by his teenage son.
Russian-language Ukrainian news site Bagnet reported that joining the legion is voluntary and Russian prisoners of war have to apply in writing, and pass strict security vetting before they can join up.
"Several hundred" officers and men from the Russian army have already defected to Ukraine as the invasion force's morale crumbles, according to the Defence Ministry statement.
A viral video clip circulating on Russian social media shows men who claimed they were members of Russia's armed forces from the Donbas region and were being sent to Sumy in the north east.
One of them said: "the Russian Defence Ministry has no idea about us, or what we're doing here."
Meanwhile, in Russia, Vladimir Putin is calling up another 134,500 conscripts as mounting casualties and desertions deplete his invasion force.
According to a decree published on a Russian government website earlier today, the troops will be called to begin service on April 1 until July 15.
The Russian Defence Ministry has promised that the new recruits “will not be sent to any hot spots,” and that all those called up in last spring’s draft will be allowed to go home.
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