Russia ‘sending new reservists to Ukraine without any weapons’

Russia ‘sending new reservists to Ukraine without any weapons’

Russian military personnel are concerned newly mobilised reservists were being deployed to the frontline in Ukraine without any weapons, British defence chiefs have said.

In its latest intelligence report, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the several thousand new reservists are often “poorly equipped” and using weapons in “barely usable condition”.

The MoD said: “Russia has deployed several thousand newly mobilised reservists to the frontline in Ukraine since mid-October. In many cases they are poorly equipped.

“In September, Russian officers were concerned that some recently mobilised reservists were arriving in Ukraine without weapons.”

It adds: “Open source images suggest that those rifles which have been issued to mobilised reservists are typically AKMs, a weapon first introduced in 1959. Many are likely in barely usable condition following poor storage.

“AKM fires 7.62mm ammunition while Russia’s regular combat units are mostly armed with 5.45mm AK-74M or AK-12 rifles.

“The integration of reservists with contract soldiers and combat veterans in Ukraine will mean Russian logisticians will have to push two types of small arms ammunition to front line positions, rather than one.

“This willlikely further complicate Russia’s already strained logistics systems.”

It comes as Russia blocked more than 200 ships from leaving Ukrainian ports - even though some are said to be carrying grain for countries on the verge of famine.

In a move condemned by the United Nations on Sunday, Moscow halted its role in the Black Sea grain deal, effectively cutting off shipments.

The move came after Russia claimed Ukraine launched a “massive” drone attack on its Black Sea fleet near Sevastopol in annexed Crimea on Saturday. It said British navy specialists helped to co- ordinate the attack and Canadian navigation systems were used.