Authorities in Russia fatally shot a Russian soldier who fled the war in Ukraine, according to reports.
Law enforcement agents found and eliminated Dmitry Perov in Russia’s western Lipetsk region, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported, citing a Wednesday Telegram announcement from the local government.
Special forces allegedly shot the armed 31-year-old to death after he resisted arrest.
“The situation is under the control of law enforcement agencies. There is no threat to residents,” Lipetsk’s regional government said.
Perov allegedly left his regiment from the “special military operation” zone in Ukraine last Friday with a machine gun and grenades.
He then went to Russia’s western Voronezh region Tuesday, which borders the partially occupied Ukrainian province of Luhansk, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported.
The trooper had visited his mother, according to ASTRA.
It was unclear why Perov left his unit.
His brother claimed he did not talk about any problems in the service.
Russia has seen a rise in desertions in Luhansk, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed amid reports of low morale among Russian soldiers.
In an intelligence briefing from November, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that Russian forces have probably deployed “barrier troops” or “blocking units” due to low morale and their reluctance to fight.
“These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers in order to compel offensives and have been used in previous conflicts by Russian forces,” the ministry explained.
Russia’s tactic of shooting its deserters “likely attests to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of Russian forces,” according to the British MoD.
A total of 117,770 Russian combat losses have been recorded in Ukraine since Russia began its invasion in February of last year, the Ukrainian general staff claimed in its most recent casualty report from Wednesday.
Russia has also allegedly lost 3,130 tanks, 6,225 armored fighting vehicles and 2,108 artillery systems, among other military equipment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed his country was able to successfully mobilize 300,000 troops in what was seen as an escalation of Russia’s efforts in the war.
However, Russia has been accused of sending its newly drafted soldiers to the front line underequipped and ill-trained.
The Russian military turned draftees into “cannon fodder,” according to the Warsaw Institute.
“Putin seems to be approaching the Ukraine war with a mindset like Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, accepting mass casualties to win the war,” the Polish think tank said in a statement.