The Russian command is holding hostage the families of troops who refuse to perform combat missions in Ukraine, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, the military intelligence service of the Ukrainian government, said in a report Monday that Russian forces currently stationed in occupied areas in eastern Ukraine who refuse to fight are being issued with ultimatums.
“If the occupiers refuse to perform combat missions, their wives and children are threatened with relocation to the depressed regions of the Far East,” the subdivision of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said on the Telegram messaging app.
The families of Russian forces in the country’s western military district are also barred from leaving the country, the ministry said.
The Rosgvardia members “arbitrarily” made their decision by “refusing to perform an official assignment,” the court ruled.
Separately, in a rare public display of dissent in the political sphere against Putin’s invasion, a member of the nation’s Communist Party, Leonid Vasyukevich, urged the Russian leader to stop his military campaign against Ukraine.
During a meeting of the Legislative Assembly of Russia’s Primorsky Krai in the far east of the country, Vasyukevich demanded that Putin stop the war and withdraw troops from Ukraine.
“We understand that if our country does not stop the military operation, there will be even more orphans in our country,” said Vasyukevich. “During the military operation, young people who could bring great benefit to our country die and become disabled.
“We demand the immediate withdrawal of the troops of the Russian Federation,” he added.
In response, he was branded a traitor, escorted out of the session and denied the right to vote, according to Russian media.
The head of Russia’s Communist Party vowed to take “tough action” against Vasyukevich.
Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.