Ukraine war: ‘Large number of Russian soldiers deserting due to low morale’

British Ministry of Defence assessments indicate that Russian courts are increasingly convicting men for desertion, which may suggest low morale among Russian soldiers. The Ministry of Defence’s latest analysis, shared on the platform formerly known as Twitter (referred to as “X” in the statement), suggests that soldiers’ refusal to fight is likely due to a combination of factors such as inadequate training, low motivation, and the high-stress situations faced by Russian forces along the entire Ukrainian frontline.

The assessment cites a report from the independent Russian website Mediazona, dated July 18, which claimed that nearly 100 soldiers are being convicted for refusing to obey orders every week. This high rate of convictions is seen as indicative of the poor state of morale within the Russian Army and the reluctance of some soldiers to engage in combat.

Despite these challenges, the analysis suggests that the low morale and convictions for desertion have not significantly impacted the overall number of soldiers deployed by Russia. It is noted that Russia has compensated for its high losses by deploying a significant number of poorly trained soldiers to the frontlines.

The statement also highlights that since Russia’s partial mobilization in September 2022, the country has adopted a strategy of utilizing sheer mass of troops for both offensive and defensive operations. This shift in approach may be an adaptation to the challenges faced by Russian forces in maintaining morale and combat effectiveness in the conflict in Ukraine.

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