Untrained Russian ‘minced meat’ troops so scared they deserted and hid in woods

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    A group of untrained Russian soldiers have fled from the front line and have been hiding in the woods.

    The soldiers were drafted after Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation in September, but now they are being accused of desertion, according to the mother of one of the soldiers, Elena Solodovnikova.

    She said that her son and four other men from the Pervomaisky district of the Tomsk region could be facing a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

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    It comes as the men were promised three months of training in a military unit in Omsk, but instead, were immediately taken to Yekaterinburg, given uniforms and sent to the border area in the Rostov region on September 29.

    Relatives of the five mobilized men say they did not undergo the required military training, and that they were deployed to Ukraine's Luhansk region without ammunition or food.

    The worried mum claimed that they were called "meat" and "minced meat" in their military unit.

    She added: "There was no equipment. There were machine guns, but what are they going to do with machine guns against tanks?"

    The group decided to retreat from the front line after coming under mortar fire and have been hiding in a forest for two weeks since.

    Elena has not heard from her son or the other troops since October 17.

    She said: "Now they are on their own. They made some kind of awning out of tents. During the day they burn fires to keep warm [and] extinguish them at night."

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    Solodovnikova said if the men were return to their unit they could be court-martialled.

    The mother said that she and relatives of the other four men have appealed for help to Tatyana Solomatina, the State Duma deputy for the Tomsk region, asking if the mobilized men can undergo training.

    However they were hit with a reply that they did not expect as Solomatina reportedly responded by telling the family members that "military officers refuse to work with deserters."

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