Putin’s commanders ‘forcing troops into caged pits for being drunk or refusing to fight’

Russian commanders are likely punishing soldiers by forcing them into caged holes in the ground, the Ministry of Defence has said.

In its daily intelligence update on Sunday, the MoD said that troops are likely facing the makeshift dungeons as a form of punishment for actions such as being drunk or refusing to fight in the Ukraine war.

The holes, called “Zindans”, consist of holes in the ground “covered with a metal grille”, it said. The MoD said in the statement that it had heard multiple reports of the Zindans being in use.

It said: “In recent months, Russian commanders have likely started punishing breaches in discipline by detaining the offending troops in ‘Zindans’ which are improvised cells consisting of holes in the ground covered with a metal grille.

“Multiple recent reports from Russian personnel give similar accounts of being placed in Zindans for misdemeanours including drunkenness and attempting to terminate their contracts.”

The MoD added: “In the early months of the war, many Russian commanders took a relatively light touch in enforcing discipline, allowing those who refused to soldier to quietly return home.

“Since Autumn 2022, there have been multiple increasingly draconian initiatives to improve discipline in the force, especially since Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov assumed command of the operation in January 2023.”

Zindans are an ancient technique for punishment and the captor can be denied food or supplies while humiliatingly being left in plain sight.

It comes as president Vladimir Putin has been cracking down on his critics and opponents in Russia.

The full force of punishment awaiting critics has been seen by imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Mr Navalny initially received a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a parole violation but was last year sentenced to a nine-year term for fraud and contempt of court and is doing time 250km east of Moscow.

While imprisoned, Mr Navalny has spent months in a tiny one-man cell, also called a “punishment cell,” for purported violations such as an alleged failure to properly button his prison robe, properly introduce himself to a guard or wash his face at a specified time.

His supporters have accused prison authorities of failing to provide him with proper medical assistance, using blindingly bright light in his cell and placing him next to a mentally unstable person.

Meanwhile, Gleb Karakulov, an officer in Mr Putin’s secretive elite personal security service, defected from the Russian army in October.

Now safely away from Russia, he gave an interview earlier this month to encourage his former colleagues to resist the president.

Defecting Russian protection officer labels Vladimir Putin ‘war criminal’

In an address to Russian officers, he said in a video: “What is happening now [with the war in Ukraine] is beyond the pale, it defies reason,” he said. “You mustn’t follow criminal orders and serve this war criminal, Vladimir Putin.”

He added: “You have information that is not shown on TV. I have only seen a part of it. Come forward and support me with more evidence. You will learn the truth.”

He said the Russian president was a once charismatic leader but is now increasingly isolated and doesn’t use a cell phone or the internet yet insists on access to Russian state television wherever he goes.

Source by [author_name]

Related Articles

Back to top button