Russia recruits female prisoners for Ukraine war – NYT

Prison (illustrative photo)
Prison (illustrative photo)

In late May, Russia released a group of women from prison to fight in the war against Ukraine, The New York Times reports, citing two former prisoners who are in contact with those still in jail on June 10.

Read also: Russia may conduct mobilization more openly after ‘re-election’ - Ukrainian intelligence

According to the NYT, military recruiters taken several women from a prison near St. Petersburg. It is unclear whether their release is an isolated case, a pilot program, or the beginning of a larger wave of recruitment.

It is noted that at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, about 30,000 women were serving their sentences in Russian prisons.

Read also: Russia plans to recruit 300,000 contract soldiers to avoid mass conscription

Military recruiters began making rounds in prisons for women throughout European part of the Russia in fall of 2023. However, until now, convicted women who joined the military have remained imprisoned without official explanation.

The NYT writes that recruitment of convicted women comes at a time when Kremlin is resorting to more unconventional schemes to attract volunteers from marginalized segments of Russian society in an effort to avoid another draft.

It is currently unknown what duties conscripts will perform at the front. Recruiters offered prisoners contracts for a year for the positions of snipers, combat medics and front-line radio operators.

The publication claims that only about 40 out of 400 prisoners agreed to this. The women were offered a pardon and a salary about $2,000 a month, which is about ten times more than minimum wage in Russia.

Read also: Russia sending conscientious objectors to the front en masse due to lack of soldiers for Kharkiv offensive

According to former prisoners, harsh conditions in Russian prisons contributed to the fact that some women agreed to go to the front.

At the end of May, the Financial Times reported that in the coming months Russia could launch a new wave of mobilization, “going beyond its creative recruitment strategies.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine