15:00 Aug. 14, 2016
Heavy losses may be one of key reasons
More and more troops reportedly desert ranks of combined Russian-backed separatist forces fighting in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military intelligence reported on Sunday, August 14, on its Facebook page.
"The units of the 1st Army Corps of the Russian Armed Forces suffer a growing number of deserters - armed troops - mostly among those who had criminal records and were released early from prison under the special mobilization program. The reasons for increased desertion include (militant) significant casualties, a strict system of forcing troops to participate in hostilities in the temporarily occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, as well as regular informal fees charged by militant commanders, including removal of stolen property," reads a statement.
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According to Ukrainian military intelligence, two soldiers of the 3rd separate motorized rifle brigade (the militant-held city of Horlivka) of Russia's 1st Army Corps abandoned the frontline without permission. Prior to that, they seized personal belongings and documents of their wounded militant comrades.
"On 12 August, six servicemen, three of them were armed with weapons, deserted the forefront of the 9th separate assault motorized rifle regiment of the Marines Corps (militant-held Novoazovsk) of the 1st Army Corps (Donetsk) of Russia's Armed Forces. The armed deserters robbed their Regiment financial and HR departments and stole passports of Russian citizens which were used as documents to cover Russian regular military officers," Ukraine intelligence service officers say.