Russia sends prisoners for its invasion of the Ukraine in ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Russian forces use the insignia “Z ” in Ukraine which has become a pro-war symbol of its invasion.
The letter “Z” is considered one of the symbols of the “special military operation” of Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine. It is also the first letter of “zek” which is a Russian word that means “inmate” or “prisoner”.
The army units of Russia are commonly known as “Storm-Z” which is unofficial but can be applied to a range of Russian military units. Russia has created Storm-Z units to fight against Ukrainian troops. There are claims that members of these units are recruited from Russian prisoners.
According to the Washington Post, Russia has set free up to 100,000 prisoners and sent them to Ukraine to fight against Ukrainian soldiers.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claims that the Russian Defense Ministry has been hiring prisoners to fight in Ukraine. After the deaths of thousands of Russian troops in Ukraine last year, Yevgeny Prigozhin allowed the recruitment of prisoners. Yevgeny was the head of Wagner’s mercenary group and chief of Putin.
Yevgeny visited personally several jails to promise convicted criminals. He assured them that they would be freed with the removal of their convictions. If they survive after six months of fighting in Ukraine.
Yevgeny and Wagner’s other top commanders died in Aug 2023 in a plane crash. Since then Russian Defense Ministry has taken over prisoner recruitment from Wagner for the war against Ukraine.
However, the Russian Defense Ministry doesn’t either approve or deny the allegations of recruiting prisoners in the Ukraine war.
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