Russia TV host reveals Putin reduced to crowdfunding to arm troops 'All of us helping'

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A pro-Kremlin TV presenter was hosting a discussion about the botched mobilisation drive underway in Russia when he let slip how people have been “sending money” to help kit out the latest wave of troops. The Kremlin’s ‘partial mobilisation’ has seen protests erupt across Russia as Putin looks to gather enough soldiers to keep Ukraine from gaining back any more territory. 

The Kremlin mouthpiece said: “They round up a bunch of people, with no clear understanding as to whether this person is currently needed by the nation.

“Does the Army need him? Will he be of use? Or he’s never seen anything at all, just obtained some sort of a degree and that’s it.

“Another issue: I sincerely hope that we will train these people well and that we will equip these people well.

“I simply insist on that, because all of us know, and no one is hiding this information, that all of us are helping, sending money, there is crowdfunding, various funds are working.

“I hope that these people will not lack anything.

“Only then can we count on some changes in the situation on the battlefront, that it won’t be dragged out indefinitely, and that it won’t lead to us being forced to use tactical nuclear weapons, with the possibility of exchanging nuclear strikes.”

Multiple reports have documented how people with no military service have received draft papers – contrary to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s pledge that only those with special military skills or combat experience would do so – prompting even loyal pro-Kremlin figures to publicly express concern.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has acknowledged that some call-ups had been issued in error, saying mistakes were being corrected by regional governors and the ministry of defence.

More than 2,000 people have been detained across Russia for protests at the draft, says independent monitoring group OVD-Info. With criticism of the conflict banned, the demonstrations were among the first signs of discontent since the war began.

A 25-year-old gunman was detained after opening fire on Monday at a military draft office in Russia’s Irkutsk region, the local governor said.

Almost 17,000 Russians crossed the border into Finland over the weekend, Finnish authorities said, while Russian state media said the estimated wait to enter Georgia hit 48 hours at one point on Sunday, with more than 3,000 vehicles queuing.

A senior lawmaker said Russian men of fighting age should not be allowed to travel abroad.

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“Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from travelling abroad in the current situation,” Sergei Tsekov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, told RIA news agency.

Announcing his mobilisation drive last week, Russia’s first since World War Two, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to use nuclear weapons to defend any of its territories.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the United States would respond “decisively” to any Russian use of nuclear weapons, without elaborating. He said Washington had privately told Moscow “exactly what that would mean”.

Asked about Sullivan’s comments, Peskov said: “There are channels for dialogue at the proper level, but they are of a very sporadic nature. At least they allow for the exchange of some emergency messages about each other’s positions.”

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