Russian opera singers, actors and circus performers will be sent to the front line to raise the ‘fragile morale’ of troops in the face of mounting losses, the British defence ministry said.
The Russian Ministry of Defence is establishing two ‘front line creative brigades’, who are being deployed on a ‘special military operation’ into Ukraine.
These will include a range of artists, including opera singers, actors and circus, Russian media has reported.
It follows on from a recent campaign from the Russian Ministry of Defence which asked citizens to donate musical instrument to soldiers to raise spirits.
‘Fragile morale almost certainly continues to be a significant vulnerability across much of the Russian force,’ Britain’s MoD said in a statement.
‘Military music and organised entertainment for deployed troops have a long history in many militaries but in Russia they are strongly intertwined with the Soviet-era concept of ideological political education.’
Russian opera singers, actors and circus performers will be sent to the front line to ‘raise the morale of troops’. File image
Two ‘front line creative brigades’ will include a range of artists, including opera singers, actors and circus, Russian media has reported. File image
The Russian Ministry of Defence is establishing two ‘front line creative brigades’. Pictured, Russian conscripts
‘However soldiers concerns concerns primarily focus on very high casualty rates, poor leadership, pay problems, lack of equipment and ammunition, and lack of clarity about the war’s objectives.
‘The creative brigades’ efforts are unlikely to substantively alleviate these concerns.’
Yesterday it was revealed that Russia is poised to ‘lengthen the period of conscription for young men from one to two years’.
A senior military commissar let the dynamite plan out of the bag in a TV interview — which is likely to trigger a major backlash.
Lt-Col Mikhail Fotin said on video that 18- to 27-year-olds will be called up for one and a half years starting from spring 2023, and two years from the autumn recruitment next year.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, speaks to officers aboard of a military helicopter at an undisclosed location in Ukraine
Lt-Col Mikhail Fotin said on video that Russia is poised to ‘lengthen the period of conscription for young men from one to two years’
The Russian defence ministry refused to comment on the plan. President Vladimir Putin is pictured (left) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) in April 2022, in the Kremlin, Moscow
This would restore the conscription system in the Soviet Union.
Since 2008 men have been liable to a one year draft.
Fotin blamed it on NATO expanding close to Russia’s borders.
The Russian defence ministry refused to comment on the plan which triggered a social media frenzy.
An immediate order was given to remove Fotin’s explosive video from TV screens.
The commissar from the Moscow region had said: ‘There will be a transition period in spring .
‘Citizens called up in spring will serve one-and-half years.
‘And those conscripted in autumn 2023 will serve two years .
‘I find this decision quite logical, given that our northern neighbours [Sweden and Finland] are joining NATO.’
No such conscription plan has been officially announced yet there have been strong rumours that Putin wanted to wait until after the New Year holidays in Russia to unveil the bombshell.
It comes as the Transport Secretary announced the extension of a travel scheme helping Ukrainian evacuees reach safety in the UK today.
The free onward travel scheme will continue to grant all Ukrainian evacuees arriving in the UK one free journey either by rail, coach, tube or bus to reach their final destination for six more months.
The Department for Transport said that it is working with operators to ensure support for Ukrainian arrivals is in place across the country.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: ‘We know, for those who have had to flee their homes in Ukraine and find sanctuary in the UK, this support has been vital, making the difficult journey to safety in some part easier.
‘We will continue to do all we can to stand with Ukraine and Ukrainians, and this scheme is an important first gesture on their arrival in our country.’
More than 2,900 Ukrainian evacuees have used the scheme, which has made it easier for Ukrainians fleeing war to reach safety and sanctuary in the UK.
The Transport Secretary said that he is also writing to rail, bus and coach operators to thank them for their generosity in facilitating the scheme and for their willingness to continue offering it.
Onward travel is a commonly requested area of support for refugees.
The scheme, which was launched in March 2022, provides Ukrainian arrivals with a single no cost onward public transport journey within 48 hours of arrival at major English entry ports to their final destination in the UK.