- A leaked video clip shows a Russian official saying troops are dying in droves in Ukraine.
- But Alexander Avdonin said he would get in trouble if he didn’t send more, per Russian media.
- “We have the lowest percentage, so there will be some repercussions,” he said, per The Moscow Times.
A Russian official said that soldiers were dying in large numbers in Ukraine but that he could get in trouble if he didn’t send more men to fight, according to Russian news outlet Siberia Realities.
Alexander Avdonin, head of military recruitment in Russia’s far-east Republic of Sakha, made the statement during a close-door government meeting, according to leaked video shared by the anti-war Free Yakutia Foundation on Telegram, and cited by the outlet.
In it, Avdonin said the region had recruited the lowest number of volunteers of all republics in Russia’s Far Eastern Military District, and that they had met only a third of their quota, per the outlet.
To make up for the shortfall, he called on officials to send 15 soldiers a week from each of the republic’s 36 districts until the end of the year, per the outlet.
If they don’t, Avdonin added, he and other local officials could get into trouble with the Kremlin.
“We have the lowest percentage, so there will be some repercussions,” he said, according to a translation by The Moscow Times.
Avdonin said that Russia’s defense ministry, along with Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, are checking recruitment numbers every day and are “already asking questions,” per the outlet’s translation.
Avdonin said Sakha would still miss the Kremlin’s 2023 annual target by 20%, leaving it to make up the numbers in 2024, the outlet reported, citing a separate video leaked by the Free Yakutia Foundation.
“It might seem that things have become easier there at the frontlines. [But] it’s not any easier. Boys are dying in the trenches every day,” Avdonin added, per the outlet.
The Kremlin has struggled to revitalize its mobilization campaign since its last and only call-up in September 2022.
Mobilizations of troops in Russia are “unpopular,” and the Kremlin will want to avoid such “policy moves” in the run-up to next year’s presidential elections, scheduled for March, the UK Ministry of Defence said in October.
About 120,000 Russian soldiers have died since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, US officials told The New York Times in August.