Putin's reliance on mercenaries 'backfires' after one of them guns down Russian lieutenant colonel: report
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on September 30, 2022. (Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/SPUTNIK/AFP)

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that Vladimir Putin's effort to mobilize mercenaries for his war effort in Ukraine is descending into disaster, with one of them killing a Russian lieutenant colonel in an incident the Kremlin is trying to cover up.

"The Kremlin’s flailing bid to get an edge on the battlefield by deploying mercenaries from the Wagner Group — which now includes hundreds of prison inmates — has reportedly backfired as the private military force butts heads with the Russian military," reported Allison Quinn. "The growing conflict resulted in a Wagner fighter gunning down a lieutenant colonel in the Russian army — a deadly episode of 'friendly fire' that the Kremlin is said to be trying to sweep under the rug, according to the human rights group Gulagu.net."

Per the report, the incident — which took place in an unknown area — was highlighted by two Russian Telegram channels. And it is just the latest in a series of violent incidents within the ranks.

"Earlier this week, a mass brawl broke out between newly drafted Russian troops and contract soldiers at a military base outside Moscow, Baza reported," said the report. "Nearly two dozen contract soldiers are said to have taken a beating from the draftees and were rescued after locking themselves in a separate room and phoning police for help. The fight reportedly erupted after some of the contract soldiers demanded the newly arrived draftees hand over their mobile phones and gear. The tumult seen between the troops has also visibly carried over to Russia’s wider information space, with pro-Kremlin military bloggers getting increasingly outspoken in their criticisms of top military command and Putin’s more radical allies publicly deriding those in charge of the war."

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All of this comes as Putin is calling up the draft to supply more troops to fight in Ukraine, doing away with his former pretense the war was simply a "special military operation" — and triggering an exodus of young Russian men from the country.

It also comes as the Russian military faces dire shortages of supplies that render them unable to give even the most basic of necessities to currently deployed and newly drafted soldiers. A recent viral video showed a Russian military commander telling new troops that they are responsible for bringing their own medical supplies, and that they should use tampons to plug bullet wounds due to lack of bandages.

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