KEY POINTS

  • Russian soldiers were reportedly told to buy their own equipment, including a helmet, boots and combat vest
  • A serviceman would need to spend about a month’s worth of pay on equipment 
  • A Ukraine media channel reported that some Russian soldiers stole footwear from Ukrainians 

Russian soldiers being sent to fight in the war in Ukraine are being required to purchase their own equipment, according to a report.

Russians preparing to join the war in Ukraine are being asked to use their own money to buy equipment and gear they would need on the battlefield. Some of the items they are required to purchase include footwear, body armor and tourniquets, a contract serviceman serving in Russia’s National Guard told The Moscow Times.

“If they issue you a field uniform, you’re in luck — you can save some money. We still have to buy the jacket and pants, at least as a change of clothing,” the serviceman told the newspaper.

Other contract servicemen told the publication that they were promised a salary of over $3,000 per month if they joined the war. However, they were told to buy their own equipment, including a helmet, boots, combat vest and a tactical vest. In total, a serviceman would need to spend about a month’s worth of pay on equipment.

“A Level 4 combat vest — which can stop pistol and rifle rounds as well as shrapnel — costs on average 70,000 rubles ($1,200). A helmet is another 10,000 rubles ($160). Decent boots are about 5,000 rubles ($80), and you really need two pairs. A tactical vest costs from 5,000 to 10,000 rubles ($80-160). And you also have to buy a jacket, pants, T-shirts and pullovers. That comes out to about 200,000 rubles ($3,365),” the serviceman added.

The Moscow Times’ report is the latest in a series of widespread evidence that the Russian military is suffering from logistical and supply problems amid the war.

In mid-May, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate released a recording of an intercepted phone call where a Russian soldier said he and others in his unit — along with their battalion commander and staff colonel — were planning to flee the war after they were given barely any equipment to fight. The soldier also added that they were only armed with snipers “from 1945.”

Some Russian soldiers also stole footwear from Ukrainians, as reported by a media channel in Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiersin the custody of pro-Russian military personnel after leaving the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol
Ukrainian soldiersin the custody of pro-Russian military personnel after leaving the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol Russian Defence Ministry via AFP / Handout
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