Ukrainian soldiers examine Russian armour plates
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In a video shared by NEXTA TV, Ukrainian soldiers showed a piece of thin red metal presumed to be part of a Russian bulletproof vest taken from a soldier. One soldier holding the damaged piece of metal and filming the video, can be heard saying: “Trophy armoured tape from a Russian bulletproof vest.
“They seem to be so confident in themselves that they don’t need armour.”
Another soldier in the background mocks his enemy saying: “The camera can’t focus on this, it’s transparent.”
The first soldier then adds: “And we complained that we had something wrong with our equipment.”
As a third soldier moves to destroy the piece of metal managing to bend it with his bare hands, one of his colleagues jokes: “You ruined orc’s plywood!”
President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia should be finished calling up reservists in two weeks, promising an end to a divisive mobilisation that has seen hundreds of thousands of men summoned to fight in Ukraine and huge numbers flee the country.
Putin ordered the mobilisation three weeks ago, part of a response to Russian battlefield defeats. He has also proclaimed the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces and threatened to use nuclear weapons.
Russia has since seen the first signs of public criticism of the authorities since the war began and officials have acknowledged some mistakes. Members of ethnic minorities and rural residents have complained of being drafted at higher rates than ethnic Russians and city dwellers.
Defending the order, Putin said the front line was too long to defend solely with contract soldiers.
But according to the UK Ministry of Defence, soldiers were even forced to buy their own armour before being deployed because of the government’s scarce financial availability.
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In its latest update on Saturday, the MoD said: “Contingents of mobilised Russian reservists have been deployed to Ukraine over the last two weeks. Their average level of personal equipment is almost certainly lower than the already poor provision of previously deployed troops.
“Many reservists are likely required to purchase their own body armour, especially the modern 6B45 vest, which is meant to be on general issue to combat units as part of the Ratnik personal equipment programme.
“This vest has been selling on Russian online shopping sites for 40,000 roubles (approx. USD $640), up from around 12,000 roubles (appox. USD $190) in April.
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“In 2020, the Russian authorities announced that 300,000 sets of Ratnik body armour had been supplied to the Russian military, which was ample to equip the force currently deployed in Ukraine.
“Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine.”
Putin said 222,000 out of an expected 300,000 reservists had already been mobilised. “This work is coming to an end,” he told a news conference at the end of a summit in Kazakhstan. “I think that in about two weeks all the mobilisation activities will be finished.”
Since the mobilisation order was given, Russian forces have continued to lose ground in eastern Ukraine and the south.
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