- A lawyer for Russian troops fired for refusing to go to Ukraine said 1,000 others had contacted him.
- “A lot of people don’t want to go and fight,” Mikhail Benyash told the Financial Times.
- Multiple reports have described low morale among Russia’s troops.
A lawyer representing a group of Russian national guardsmen refusing to join the invasion of Ukraine said hundreds of other soldiers and guardsmen had been in touch with him looking for help avoiding the war.
Mikhail Benyash told the Financial Times that “a lot of people don’t want to go and fight” and that about 1,000 people had been in touch with him since his case representing the guardsmen was made public.
He said he represented 12 national guardsmen who were fired for refusing to go to Ukraine.
They were members of Rosgvardia, which is a force separate from the military. They said this meant they shouldn’t be sent to Ukraine, the FT reported.
The men said they thought that they would be doing something illegal if they went abroad as part of an armed group, Reuters reported. They also said they did not have passports, Reuters reported.
They filed a wrongful-dismissal suit against the government, Reuters and the FT reported.
Benyash said just three of those 12 guardsmen proceeded with the lawsuit, Reuters and the FT reported. The other nine withdrew their claims because they were threatened, Benyash said, according to the FT.
The reports came as Ukrainian and Western officials described flagging morale among Russian troops. On Thursday, the head of the UK’s GCHQ intelligence service said Russian soldiers were “refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.”