‘They were furious’: the Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine

Troops are saying no to officers, knowing that punishment is light while Russia is not technically at war

When the soldiers of an elite Russian army brigade were told in early April to prepare for a second deployment to Ukraine, fear broke out among the ranks.

The unit, stationed in Russia’s far east during peacetime, first entered Ukraine from Belarus when the war started at the end of February and saw bitter combat with Ukrainian forces.

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