More than 28,000 prisoners including murderers, rapists and those guilty of grievous bodily harm have been freed from jails to fight for Vladimir Putin in his war in Ukraine, it is claimed.
The scheme has so far led to the release of more than five percent of the entire male jail population in Russia as the Kremlin steps up recruitment of inmates after suffering a humiliating defeat against Ukraine’s army in the east of the country.
The astonishing figure – revealed by independent Volya Telegram channel – is far higher than previous estimates of released prisoners fighting for Russia in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man known as ‘Putin’s ‘chef’, was filmed earlier this week offering a pardon to violent criminals and sex offenders – if they could survive fighting in Ukraine for six months.
A new video this week showed 400 prisoner-volunteers in a dozen prison vans on their way to basic training.
Most inmates are given just perfunctory training before being sent into battle on the…