Russia has been using prisoners from women’s jails to serve in the Russian military in an attempt to make up for its increasing losses in Ukraine, according to both Ukrainian officials and an independent Russian prisons watchdog, The Moscow Times has reported.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported earlier this week that “last week a train with sleeping cars for the transfer of prisoners was spotted moving towards the Donetsk region. One of the cars [had] female convicts [in it].”
Moscow has most likely been using female prisoners to help in its invasion of its neighbor since at least the end of last year, according to Olga Romanova, the co-founder of the prisoners’ rights organization Russia Behind Bars.
The organization added that as many as 100 women inmates have been brought so far by Russia to fight in Ukraine. Russia Behind Bars said it was unclear if the female prisoners volunteered to go into battle or if it was something they were forced to do.
“They were taken from penal colonies in southern Russia. I don’t know the exact ones, but they worked in Kushchevka [in the southern Krasnodar region],” Romanova told iStories.
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