• Russian forces allegedly "liked to drink" and used "drugs" before the invasion of Ukraine
  • Their exercises allegedly "boiled down to digging trenches and building toilets" 
  • Russia has lost around 20,300 personnel since the start of the war in Ukraine

Russian forces were not prepared to go to war before the invasion of Ukraine, the wife of a deceased Russian soldier claimed.

Yulia Ivkina's husband, Igor Ivkin, signed on as a professional contract soldier for the Russian military because he believed that "if you didn't serve, then you're not a man," the United States government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The 19-year-old Pskov native was also attracted to the stability and benefits the army offered on paper, noted the outlet.

However, Ivkin reportedly became disillusioned with the military, especially after being sent to the 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade based in the Russian town of Luga.

"Igor did not like it very much. The equipment was broken and old. No one prepared them for war there," said Ivkina, 23.

Additionally, Ivkin "was annoyed by the usual army sloppiness," his wife claimed.

"He said that in the unit everyone liked to drink and many guys were on drugs, which were not at all difficult to get. He said that all the exercises basically boiled down to digging trenches and building toilets," Ivkina added.

Ivkin talked to his wife about leaving the military and began to plan how he could rejoin civilian life after his contract. But he got killed on March 8 after going to Ukraine's border as part of Russia's invasion.

He had just returned from a four-day leave to meet his newborn daughter, according to the report.

"Happiness lasted four days," Ivkina said.

Ivkin was buried on March 30 in Vorontsovo, a village near his home city. He was among the thousands of Russian soldiers who reportedly died fighting in Ukraine.

"The last time he called, he talked about how scary it is there, how scary it is when his fellow soldiers die... I don’t know exactly how many died. They were under fire all the time," Ivkina said.

"He had not been to any hot spots before, so, of course, he was scared, but he didn’t want to tell me that. He said that he would do everything to survive. The main thing is to return home," she added.

Around 20,300 Russian personnel were lost between the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and Sunday, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense stated in its most recent casualties report.

Russia has not provided updated casualties figures since March 25, when it said 1,351 had died at that point in the war.

Russian soldiers patrol a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022, as Moscow intensifies a campaign to take the strategic Ukrainian port city
Russian soldiers patrol a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022, as Moscow intensifies a campaign to take the strategic Ukrainian port city AFP / Alexander NEMENOV