A haunting video has emerged today showing a Russian girl sobbing uncontrollably as her conscript father boards a bus to join the Ukraine invasion amid Vladimir Putin’s mass mobilisation push.
The Russian President has paved the way for up to 1million Russians to be conscripted into the armed forces and sent to fight in Ukraine, it has been claimed, as a group of enlistees from Stary Oskol in Belgorod region were videoed being taken away into their military service.
The footage records a child, seemingly a girl, shouting – but not seen – after one of the conscripts saying: ‘Papa, goodbye. Please come back. Papa, bye, Papa… Papa…?’
The child cries inconsolably as her father — somewhere in a group of men — slowly leaves, some never to return.
One claim was that these men — who are close to the Ukraine border in Belgorod region — would be first of the newly recruited to the front, but all are supposed to have at least one month’s training first.
Separately, university students are seen in a video being marched by police from their lecture theatres to war service in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia — already one of the worst hit regions for bloodshed in Putin’s war.
The scene at Buryatia State University came one day after the defence minister Sergei Shoigu had vowed higher education students would not be enlisted.
Yesterday, the despot announced that 300,000 people with previous combat experience or specialist skills will be sent to the frontlines in Ukraine, with the first batches seen kissing their loved ones goodbye today.
However, the official order was published with a paragraph ominously blanked out. Putin’s spokesman says it relates to the number who can be called, and a source within the presidential palace now claims it says ‘1million’.
The document also makes no mention of previous combat experience and sets no limits on who can be summoned except those who are too old, sick or in jail – opening the door for virtually anyone to be drafted.
It appears the draft is currently focused in Russia’s poorer and more-remote eastern regions, likely because Putin feels less-threatened by unrest there than in his western power-bases of Moscow or St Petersburg.
However, it seems not everyone in the west is immune – with human rights groups reporting that some activists arrested overnight for protesting the war are being handed draft papers inside the police station.
Officers in four stations around the capital are said to be drafting dissenters into the armed forces, human rights group OVD-Info told CNN, with at least one being threatened with 15 years in jail if they refuse.
Meanwhile the General SVR Telegram channel also claimed the 300,000 figure was ‘false’ — saying the actual target is 500,000 this year, and 500,000 next.
The channel, which claims insider Kremlin sources, also claimed the ‘general estimate of losses by March next year is about 300,000 killed and wounded’.