The Russian army still sends troops into battle on the backs of four-legged creatures. Local media reported that Russians now use their horses to transport weapons and equipment to hard-to-reach places.
The horses were brought to Ukraine from Russia’s autonomous republic of Bashkiria.
The horses were brought to Ukraine at the request of the regiment commander with the call sign “Bashkir,” in which the mobilized from the republic serve.
“We can use shishigas [GAZ-66 trucks] and quad bikes. But with them, there is a risk of being detected. But in the morning dawn on horses, we can silently and discreetly deliver everything we need to the combat positions. On two horses, it’s about 200 kilograms. You can make two trips in the morning,” Bashkir said.
It’s also important to note that horses and camels are still used in some modern armies.
For example, Poland actively uses horses to patrol the border area with Belarus, where there are many marshes. Germany, the United States, and Chile also have horseback units that are used for covert special operations.
When her recently mobilised brother rang from the frontline last week, Olesya Shishkanova recorded the phone call – and with it, a litany of complaints.
“They gave us absolutely no equipment. The army has nothing, we had to buy all our gear ourselves,” complained Vladimir, 23, who was conscripted as part of Vladimir Putin’s mobilization earlier this month.
“I even had to paint my gun to cover the rust. It is a nightmare … Soon they’ll make us buy our own grenades,” he added in the call that Shishkanova uploaded on her page on the Russian social media site VK.
Vladimir’s story is far from unique. Across the country, newly mobilized men are buying up everything from thermal underwear to body armor as more evidence emerges that Russia’s undersupplied army has not been able to provide them with even the basics when they arrive at the front.
In fact, he had only held a weapon once, when they were taught how to strip down and reassemble an automatic rifle, she said. Mostly, she added, “they were sweeping (the compound), cleaning the snow.”
Relatives of conscripts reported having to spend their own money on gear and basic necessities. Online groups were formed to raise funds for equipment.
One campaign was run by Kremlin-backed lawmaker and state TV host Yevgeny Popov, who said reservists in the Taman artillery division got shoes and clothes but had “an acute shortage of drones, walkie-talkies, smartphones with maps (for gunners), binoculars, headlamps (and) power banks,” he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday acknowledged persisting problems with equipment for the draftees, but “vigorous measures taken to rectify the situation are already yielding the first positive results.”
He said regional authorities are involved in providing “the missing gear,” and now Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov “is personally responsible for this” in a coordination council Putin has created.
Russian media reported multiple deaths of reservists in Ukraine, with their relatives telling news outlets that they had received very little training.
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