The unit's commander says Russia attacks Ukrainian positions every day but the line is holding


  • Some prisoners recruited by Wagner 'would have died of their illnesses in a year'
  • Russia is also leaving its dead on the streets due to overcrowded morgues, says a Ukrainian soldier
  • Russia has reportedly lost more than 148,000 military personnel in the war

A Russian private military company is sending prisoners suffering from AIDS or other serious illnesses to the war in Ukraine, according to the accounts of a Ukrainian soldier.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Kyiv Post, Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldier Serhiy Volkov said Russia's Wagner private military company (PMC), who had been recruiting prisoners from Russian penal colonies, was sending out fighters afflicted with terminal illnesses to the frontline.

"My cousin is fighting in a neighboring unit, and there were prisoners from Wagner already diagnosed with AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis, but I know they still received medical care," he said. "It turns out that the best courageous men are dying on Ukraine's side, while the Russians are mobilizing prisoners who would have died of their illnesses in a year or so anyway."

In addition to recruiting sick prisoners, Volkov also said the Russian army is leaving its dead on the streets due to overcrowded morgues. This is not the first time Russia has been accused of recruiting sick and injured people for its war in Ukraine.

In October last year, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry accused the Wagner group of forcibly drafting Russian prisoners with HIV and hepatitis. Sick soldiers are reportedly marked using wristbands: red for those who are HIV-positive and white for fighters with hepatitis.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry also said Russian medics are routinely refusing to give medical aid to soldiers suffering from HIV or hepatitis.

In September, the independent Russian news site The Insider also reported that a 63-year-old man from the Volgograd region was drafted into the Russian army despite suffering from second-degree diabetes and cerebral ischemia, a condition where there is not enough blood flow to the brain.

Also in the same month, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) said the Russian military began recruiting sick and injured people from hospitals to replace the people it lost in the war.

As of Monday, Russia lost a total of 148,690 military personnel in combat, as per estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The figure includes 560 soldiers who were killed over the past day.

China's call for a political settlement to the Ukraine war was timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion