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Putin's Pawns: Russian Murderers, Criminals Set Free to Fight Ukraine War Cause Turmoil After Return Home

Dangerous Escalation: Putin's Military Buildup and NATO's Concerns
Source: MEGA

Putin ordered a conscription drive, calling up 150,000 Russian men to join the army, officials said.

Mar. 1 2024, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

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Former inmates who were once held captive under Vladimir Putin's rule, including pedophiles and murderers, are now causing havoc after returning home following their six-month stint in combat against Ukraine.

In a bid to bolster depleted troops in the war against Ukraine, prisoners were released from incarceration starting in mid-2022, according to the Daily Mail.

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Promised a sum of 100,000 rubles, or around $1,000, as well as a pardon upon completion of six months' service in the army, the criminals were recruited by Yevgeny Prighozon, the leader of the mercenary outfit known as The Wagner Group.

Prighozin's attempt to stage a coup against the Kremlin in June 2023 led to his demise in a plane crash that August. Despite the setback, the Russian Ministry of Defense continued the recruitment initiative, anticipating high casualties among the convicts on the front lines in Ukraine.

Initially, 49,000 prisoners were enlisted, mostly destined to serve as cannon fodder. Those who defied orders or attempted escape were executed.

Following the completion of their contracts, only 32,000 convicts were reported to have returned by Russian authorities, although the Daily Mail suggested the actual number could be closer to 20,000.

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Many of these returnees had endured brutal conditions on the front lines, having been hastily integrated into Putin's newly formed Storm-Z units in April 2023. Comprised of convicted criminals and insubordinate soldiers, these units received just 10 to 15 days of training before being dispatched to reinforce weary troops.

Now back home, some of these ex-convicts are reportedly terrorizing their own communities. According to the Daily Mail, a convicted rapist was apprehended recently after he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

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Other reports from Russia recount the arrest of another released rapist, who, upon his return from Ukraine, assaulted 10- and 12-year-old girls, threatening them with grenades if they resisted.

Further accounts detail a platoon commander, fresh from the Ukrainian conflict, who stands accused of murdering his wife in front of their young sons.

BBC News had earlier reported 20 cases of returned prisoners committing serious crimes, including that of Denis Gorin, a convicted cannibal and serial killer. Gorin, who received a pardon from Putin in November 2023 after serving his six-month stint in Ukraine, was sentenced in 2018 to 22 years for murdering and consuming multiple victims.

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Putin's decision to grant pardons to prisoners fighting in the war zone was met with skepticism, despite his assertion of minimal negative repercussions.

However, recent reports suggest a change in policy, with The Moscow Times indicating a cessation of presidential pardons and a shift towards conditional releases, with prisoners being dispatched to the front until the conclusion of the conflict.


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