Russian convicts make promo video inviting others to enlist
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Former Russian prisoners have released a video message to fellow convicts urging them to enlist in the Kremlin military. The convicts, now fighting in Ukraine, encouraged criminals to join the army as they made promises of strong career progression and “medals” for their service. The news follows the emergence of leaked footage showing Kremlin military leaders recruiting soldiers from Russian prisoners. Some inmates have reportedly been promised they will be freed from prison if they complete six months of military service.
In the video address, one soldier begins by greeting Russian prisoners: “Hello everyone, IK-3 [Colony] St Petersburg. We [have] already been fighting here for five months, defending the Motherland.
“Everything is good, we’re alive and well. In five months, a lot changed in our lives – we chose this path and we follow it.”
Another soldier continues: “IK-7 Fornosovo, greetings to all our brothers, [we are] waiting for you here.
“In my experience, in five months I became the platoon commander. Moving forward on the career ladder, occupying new territories, receiving medals and awards – [it’s] all fantastic.”
In the promo clip, the convicts boast of receiving medals for their military service and outline the “opportunities” for prisoners in Ukraine.
The soldier continues: “Next to us are our brothers-in-arms who walk along with us. Life truly changes here, there are all the opportunities here to move forward in this direction.
“Everything is known here, trouble and grief, those who survive keep going with us, others have already been unlucky. In any case, this is [the fate] of assault squads.
“I’m personally proud of what I achieved. It’s an unforgettable feeling when you return home with medals, I can already imagine it.
“Mum, Dad, before them a warrior son, not a shepherd.”
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The Russian serviceman goes on to make erroneous claims that Moscow’s military “never roll back”. He adds that the Russian forces have continued to expand their territory within Ukraine, despite intelligence reports having confirmed Putin’s troops are on the backfoot.
The soldier declared: “Life is changing, changing for the better. We are occupying new territories.
“We never roll back, regardless of the position we are in, wherever we go.”
In a final message to Russian prisoners, he adds: “So, guys, waiting for you all here. We’ll see you soon.”
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The video address comes after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group of Russian mercenaries, was filmed driving army recruitment at a prison in the Mari El Republic, as geolocated by the BBC.
Prigozhin told convicts: “If you serve six months, you are free.”
However, he added: “If you arrive in Ukraine and decide it’s not for you, we will execute you.”
In a statement after the video went viral, Prigozhin said: “It’s either private military companies and prisoners, or your children – decide for yourself.”
Intelligence reports have suggested the Kremlin is increasingly desperate to bolster Russia’s military forces with fresh recruits following a catastrophic rate of casualties in Ukraine.
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