Per Reuters, Russian “punishment batalions,”
They’re among hundreds of military and civilian offenders who’ve been pressed into Russian penal units known as “Storm-Z” squads and sent to the frontlines in Ukraine this year, according to 13 people with knowledge of the matter, including five fighters in the units.
Few live to tell their tale, the people said.
“Storm fighters, they’re just meat,” said one regular soldier from army unit no. 40318 who was deployed near the fiercely contested city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine in May and June.
He said he’d given medical treatment to a group of six or seven wounded Storm-Z fighters on the battlefield, disobeying an order from a commander – whose name he didn’t know – to leave the men. He said he didn’t know why the commander gave the order, but claimed that it typified how Storm-Z fighters were considered of lesser value than ordinary troops by officers.
The Storm-Z squads are useful to the Russian defence ministry because they can be deployed as expendable infantry, according to Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent organisation that’s tracking the war. “The Storm fighters are just sent to the most dangerous parts of the front, in defence and in attack,” the group, which was founded in Russia, told Reuters.
While the Russian defence ministry has never acknowledged creating Storm-Z units, the first reports of their existence emerged in April when the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think-tank, cited what it said appeared to be a leaked Russian military report on the formation of the squads.
Putin’s brutal treatment of his own Storm-Z Troopers?
Almost as barbaric as his treatment of Ukrainians.
Glory to Ukraine!