Russian soldiers with the 127th Regiment of the 1st Army Corps refused to continue fighting in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine over a lack of critical supplies such as water, the Ukrainian government said Sunday.
Newsweek reports that Ukraine’s Operational Command South said in a Facebook post that the soldiers lacked support, while those in advanced positions didn’t have any water. As punishment, the men were reportedly removed from their unit.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, an American think tank, the 127th Regiment consists of forcibly conscripted men from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast. It was created in April, along with four other regiments from the area — the 103rd, 109th, 113th, and 125th.
In late July, the 109th, 113th, and 125th regiments were redeployed to northwestern Kherson and the 109th reportedly surrendered on the first day of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to the institute.
The think tank believes that Russian forces are likely strengthening their front-line positions with inexperienced and forcibly called-up units that lack the resolve to fight.
This is not the first report of Russian soldiers refusing to fight in Ukraine.
Russian independent media outlet MediaZone reported in July that 17 Russian soldiers were held in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region for refusing to take up arms.
Andrei Rinchino, legal head of the Free Buryatia Foundation, told the news outlet that the men had short-term contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry and were imprisoned after they tried to terminate their contracts and refused to continue participating in the conflict.
The men also received death threats for refusing to fight, their relatives told the news outlet.
According to Newsweek, some of the men were also threatened with being assigned to “combat assault squadrons” for requesting to go home. These units are usually created to lead an attack and are likely to sustain heavy casualties.
The developments come as the conflict has raged for most of this year and as Ukraine is conducting a counteroffensive in the Russian-occupied Kherson region.
In a video address Sunday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that two settlements in southern Ukraine and one in the Donetsk region had been liberated, without specifying which ones.