Around 60 Russian paratroopers have staged a mutiny and refused to fight in Ukraine, local reports say.
The men, who were from key airborne forces headquarters Pskov in northern Russia, could now face jail sentences for the insubordination.
The refusenik troops had been moved to Belarus as part of the invasion force but after their mutiny were sent in disgrace back to their base in Pskov.
Some have been dismissed and branded ‘cowards’ while others are set to face the Russian equivalent of a court martial with likely jail sentences.
Defence minister Sergei Shoigu is reported to have sent one of his deputies to Pskov to handle the insubordination.
Ukraine claimed that the troops were elite paratroopers but this has not yet been confirmed, even though Pskov is a key HQ of Russia’s most elite airborne forces.
Russian opposition outlet Pskovskaya Guberniya reported: ‘About 60 servicemen from Pskov refused to go to war on Ukrainian territory, according to our sources.
‘After the first days of the war, they were first brought to the Republic of Belarus, and then they returned to their base in Pskov.
‘Most of them are currently being dismissed, but some are threatened with criminal cases.’
It is the latest of several cases of Russian troops refusing to obey Vladimir Putin’s orders to invade Ukraine and ‘deNazify’ the country.
An earlier captive Russian soldier from Pskov, Vladimir Safronov, 23, told his Ukrainian interrogators about problems with rations, and how his officers were looting the civilian population.
‘Things are bad with food, we are constantly saving it,’ he said.
‘Very often we have a situation that a ration for one person is shared between two people.
‘We are eating mostly what we find inside [civilian] houses [in occupied Ukraine].
He said: ‘There is a lot of looting, I’ve personally seen it.
‘I don’t support it, it was mainly senior sergeants and the commander who did it…
‘I saw civilians who were hiding, people who were unable to evacuate, who lived in constant fear.
‘I felt awfully sorry for them, it was scary to find them.’
Earlier reports said that elite OMON special forces troops from Khakassia had refused to fight.
In another case, troops from unofficial statelet South Ossetia reportedly went on foot back to their homes after refusing to participate on hostilities in Ukraine.
Source: Daily Mail