So many mobilized Russian reservists had to buy their own military gear that thermal underwear now costs up to $340 and a hiking backpack costs as much as $600

  • Russian reservists forced to buy their own gear are finding sky-high prices in stores, reports say.

  • Some items like body armor vests cost up to 10 times than normal, one Russian news site wrote.

  • Putin last month announced a mobilization of 300,000 Russian reservists to fight in Ukraine.

Prices are through the roof at Russia's military and outdoor gear stores, Russian news outlets report. This comes as thousands of Russian conscripts drafted for the Ukraine war scramble to purchase their own supplies because Moscow isn't giving them what they need.

Men's thermal underwear now costs up to $340 in some stores, while hiking backpacks are priced at up to $600, per Russian business news outlet Kommersant. A pair of gloves now sets a Russian soldier back by $260, while night vision devices have hit the staggering price of $810, per Kommersant.

The demand for first aid kits, tactical gloves, and berets tapered off in recent weeks, but their prices remain at exorbitant levels, reported Kommersant.

A typical body armor vest is now worth $729, business news site reported on Wednesday. The vests cost just $133 at the start of 2022, reported.

In some cases, the price of body armor can even go up to $2,188, said Senator Lyudmila Narusova, who represents the region of Tuva, per Russian business newspaper journalists reported that they contacted a chain store selling military gear, and asked to buy two Class IV bulletproof vests, which are designed to stop bullets from penetrating armor. The store told the journalists the vests were out of stock.

It's unclear whether sellers are intentionally inflating the prices due to the demand, or because stocks are running low. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on why the prices are skyrocketing and why equipment for conscripts is lacking.

Meanwhile, Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service also warned stores not to overprice medical and military supplies, per RIA Novosti.

Russian reservists have to buy their own supplies

The buying frenzy started after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in September that 300,000 reservists would be drafted to fight in the Ukraine war.

Some Russian draftees say they've had to purchase combat equipment and that the military failed to give them supplies, per The Guardian. One mobilized reservist told his sister he had to paint his gun to hide the rust on the weapon, The Guardian reported.

"They gave us absolutely no equipment. The army has nothing, we had to buy all our gear ourselves," he said.

In a viral Twitter video posted on October 17, a Russian soldier is seen complaining that he was given a "bulletproof vest" actually meant for Airsoft games. Insider could not independently verify where or when the clip was taken.

The UK's Ministry of Defence tweeted on Saturday an update that it, too, received intelligence that Russian soldiers were buying their own body armor at exorbitant prices. The MOD added that the quality of the average Russian reservist's equipment now is far worse than what was provided to earlier Russian deployments.

Western intelligence sources have reported since the war began on February 24 that Russia's invasion has consistently been badly supplied and understaffed.

Russia also has not shown that it has the logistics to properly equip and train 300,000 reservists in a short time, Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University told Insider's Erin Snodgrass and Kelsey Vlamis in September.

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