In its latest intelligence update, the British Defense Ministry says independent research shows a notable increase in Russian military personnel abandoning their duties in the first months of 2023, surpassing the previous year’s total, with disciplinary issues exacerbated by reservist mobilization since last October.
The ministry tweeted:
- “Credible research by independent Russian journalists suggests that between January and May 2023, Russian military courts dealt with 1,053 cases of personnel going absent without leave (AWOL) – more than during the whole of 2022.”
- “Russia’s military has struggled to enforce discipline in its ranks throughout its operations in Ukraine, but its issues have highly likely worsened following the forced mobilisation of reservists since October 2022.”
- “Court data suggests that most of those found guilty of going AWOL are now punished with suspended sentences, meaning they can be redeployed to the ‘special military operation’. Russia’s efforts to improve discipline have focused on making examples of defaulters, and promoting patriotic zeal, rather than addressing the root causes of soldiers’ disillusionment.”