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Military: Only 7% of troops in Russian 'volunteer units' in occupied Ukrainian territories are locals

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 6, 2023 10:19 AM 2 min read
Reservists drafted during Russia's "partial" mobilization for its full-scale war against Ukraine attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Russian-occupied Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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Only 7% of personnel serving in Russian "Sudoplatov" and "Margelov" pseudo-volunteer battalions in occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts are locals, the Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center reported on Nov. 5, citing Russia's estimates.

The units' personnel is mainly comprised of Russians and Serbian mercenaries, which means most residents of the occupied territories have ignored Russia's recruitment campaign into so-called volunteer battalions, according to the center.

The Kyiv Independent could not immediately verify this information.

Russia has reportedly conscripted tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied parts of Ukraine to fight against their own country since the start of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Escaping Russian army: The story of one Ukrainian forced to fight against his homeland
Editor’s Note: The name of the person interviewed by the Kyiv Independent for this story has been changed to protect his identity as he has shared sensitive information that could place him and his family in danger. “If Russia orders us to invade the entire galaxy, we will,” the

Many of them are believed to have been killed in action, as Moscow reportedly uses these people as cannon fodder to expose Ukrainian artillery positions and to cover units recruited inside Russia.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sept. 29 that Russia's fall conscription campaign would officially include the illegally annexed areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.

The National Resistance Center earlier said that Russian proxy authorities in the occupied territories were preparing systems to register local conscripts.

‘I never planned to fight against Ukraine:’ Forcibly conscripted by Russia, Ukrainians await fate in POW camp
Editor’s note: The location of the prisoner of the war camp the Kyiv Independent visited is undisclosed for security reasons. The Kyiv Independent got vocal recorded agreement from the prisoners of the war to be interviewed and identified in the story. When Yevhen Kalashnikov found an opening to su…
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