Russian teens called up to fight in child army after Putins massive losses

Russia's president Vladimir Putin is now so worried about his sheer loss of soldiers that he is now calling up minors to fight in the invasion of Ukraine.

According to local Ukrainian news outlets, Putin signed an order on March 15 giving the army permission to call up those aged 17-18 to join the army.

The order, in Russian, states: “On the organisation of the involvement of members of the military-patriotic public movement Unarmiya (young army) in a special operation on the territory of Ukraine.”

The order had already been signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who set up the Young Army nearly a decade ago.

It also states that those at the top of Russia's army “must provide proposals for the training of these personnel as soon as possible”, and Rennady Zhidko, who is chief of the main military political department of the Russian Army, has been told to make sure the order is carried out.

According to several news outlets yesterday, around 14,000 Russians have been killed in the fighting in Ukraine – which accounts for about 70% of all losses during the invasion.

Putin gave the go-ahead to establish the All-Russia "Young Army" National Military Patriotic Social Movement Association in 2015.

The force, formed mainly of schoolchildren, has grown massively since then and is now thought to have more than one million members, and is known in Russia as “YunArmia”.

Described as a "military and patriotic" organisation, YunArmia – for girls as well as boys – has been criticised as an echo of the Hitler Youth.

The organisation was launched by the Nazi Party in the 1920s, where young men were trained to become future members of Adolf Hitler's army.

For many in Russia, though, the young army is seen as instilling discipline in young Russians and keeping them out of trouble.

Kids as young as eight are taught military drills, how to handle weapons, practice wrestling and learn to parachute.

It is highly likely that some of the students from the first batch of recruits are now fighting on the front line in Ukraine, or killed in action – but it is impossible to clarify this, as integration into the full army happens upon graduating from the camps.

The website for the child army states that one million youngsters are currently members, which spans across 85 regional headquarters throughout the country.

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