Russian soldiers are rumored to be sticking their hands out of trenches because they want to get shot

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench surrounded by fog and burnt trees
A Ukrainian soldier digs a trench near Bakhmut, Ukraine, in October 2023.Kostya Liberov/Libkos via Getty Images
  • A Russian woman is campaigning for her husband to be sent back from Ukraine, according to Govorit NeMoskva.

  • She'd heard Russian soldiers were so exhausted, they would put their hands out of trenches.

  • The rumors suggested soldiers wanted to get injured so they could get some rest, the report said.

Rumors are circulating that Russian soldiers are so tired in Ukraine, that they are sticking their hands out of trenches in a deliberate bid to get injured, the wife of a mobilized soldier told Russian outlet Govorit NeMoskva.

The wife told the outlet that she is now campaigning alongside other Russian women to get their sons and husbands brought home from Ukraine. The outlet did not name her.

She said many people have written to her to say some Russian soldiers "stick their arms out of the trenches in order to get wounded and simply rest," according to The Moscow Times' translation.

"Some write: 'I'm so tired. Let something strike at us as soon as possible," she added.

The woman did not reveal exactly who made the claims, but said that she speaks to her husband and to several close friends who are on the front lines, according to the report.

Russian soldiers have previously been reported to be seeking injury so they can get away from the fighting. This includes a Russian paratrooper who fought in Ukraine. He said in August 2022 that Russian troops were deliberately shooting themselves in the leg to try and get away from the fighting, and to get a $50,000 payout.

Audio published by Ukraine also revealed a Russian soldier in Ukraine telling his mother in a phone call that his superior shot himself to get out of fighting.

Russian soldiers, many of whom were called up to fight, have described grueling conditions in Ukraine where they are overworked, left to fight with insufficient equipment, and treated like meat by their superiors.

Soldiers' families, in some cases, have pleaded for them to be sent back to Russia, but risks are high: Russians can be arrested or fined for discrediting the military.

The woman who spoke to Govorit NeMoskva is a cofounder of a movement now calling on authorities for Russian soldiers to be brought home, the report said.

The woman said her husband, a sergeant, was called up in September 2022, according to the report. She said that he was assured that he would be sent home after a maximum of six months, but instead he is still there 13 months after he started training.

He came home for two weeks in October, where he was quiet and did not want to talk about the fight, she said.

The report said she was worried Russian soldiers would make mistakes and harm each other due to fatigue.

The woman did not criticize Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but instead said that the men who were mobilized in Russia's big push in September 2022 should now be able to stop fighting.

She said her group has 8,000 members, and is trying to organize protests but is being refused permission by some local Russian authorities, according to the outlet.

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