The New York TimesThe New York Times

'Coffins are already coming': The toll of Russia's chaotic draft

By Neil Macfarquhar

16 Oct 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

New Russian recruits are already fighting and dying on the front lines in Ukraine after receiving barely any combat training. The NYT reports on evidence of a hasty and chaotic mobilization.

A half-dozen Russian soldiers talk about being shipped to an area of intense fighting in eastern Ukraine just 11 days after their mobilization. Asked about his shooting practice, a bearded conscript says, “Once. Three magazines.”

In a town near Yekaterinburg, in central Russia, newly mobilized men march in place in their street clothes. “No machine guns, nothing, no clothes, no shoes,” says an unidentified observer. “Half of them are hungover, old, at risk — the ambulance should be on duty.”

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