“Do you know what tampons are for”? According to one Russian army officer they are to shove “right into the bullet wound and the tampon expands and applies pressure to the wound”. The officer is telling a group of new conscripts about the realities of the front line: no sleeping bags, no medical kits – “ You’ll have to bring it all yourselves boys!”. She is clearly at the end of her tether and her voice almost breaks when she tells them, “Guys, take care of your own selves, please.”
Social media is awash with videos of angry, dishevelled, recently conscripted Russian men in ill-fitting uniforms railing against how they are being treated. There are examples of whole conscripted units being transported into fields or forests near the border with Ukraine and simply left there without food, shelter, or medicine.