Russia continues to recruit 20,000 volunteers every month. Many of them are current inmates who are promised amnesty for killing Ukrainians in the war. Slidstvo.Info journalists got through to a Russian military commissar, who confirmed that Russia is committing its convicts to frontline assaults.
This is detailed in the Slidstvo.Info report “From the capture of Europe to death in Ukraine. Chronicling the story of ‘Storm Z’ unit.”
Storm Z is an assault unit created by the Russian Ministry of Defense, similar to the Wagner PMC. In fact, these are penal battalions staffed by convicts and military personnel who have violated discipline. The units have the lowest priority for logistical and medical support. At the same time, they are deployed to some of the most difficult sectors.
Slidstvo.Info journalists managed to talk to a military commissar from Tatarstan, Tabrik Yamalov, who is in charge of the assignment of Russians, in particular to the Storm Z unit.
Journalist: Can we talk to you for two minutes about conscription and mobilization?
Tabrik Yamalov: What exactly?
Journalist: Aleksei Khusnutdinov (Russian Storm Z fighter, who was liquidated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces – ed.) gave me your phone number, he is my brother’s colleague in the 13637th unit. He said that if Article 228, part 1 is not too grave, then it is possible to get mobilized through you.
Journalist: Under a contract, right?
Tabrik Yamalov: Yes, under a contract. And what was [the conviction] for?
Journalist: Well, there were drugs involved, he has a conditional sentence of one year so far. He wants to have it removed and to serve, to help a little bit. He’s a driver, hauler. He doesn’t have many additional skills or abilities.
Tabrik Yamalov: Leave your passport data, we’ll check it through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Kazan will approve it, and then we’ll negotiate.
Interviewer: And then where do you send [people]? Is it like Luhansk or Kherson?
Tabrik Yamalov: Yes, assault units.
While Russian military commissariats continue to recruit new convicts for the war effort in Ukraine, promising amnesty for those convicted of crimes ranging from murder to drug charges, most will never regain their freedom after participating in the so-called “Special Military Operation”.
The video has English subtitles.