According to foreign media report on Nov 8th, Russian troops in Ukraine were suffering a crisis of low morale due to lack of weapons and other essentials. In order to prevent the struggling soldiers from retreating, senior Russian commanders used the barrier troops to force soldiers to keep moving forward. Professor Michael Clark, former director-general of the Royal United Services Institute, reported that Putin’s private army Wagner Group has implemented the brutal strategy and tactic in the east of Ukraine. Clark explained Moscow’s mercenaries Wagner Group have been attacking Bakhmut for about four weeks but still haven’t captured the city.
The Russian troops have convicts in the frontline, with mobilized soldiers behind them and regular forces in the last. The regulars in the third line are the so-called barrier troops whose job is to shoot the retreating convicts soldiers or the mobilized soldiers. He pointed out that Soviet troops employed similar tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II. Clark added that was how Russian forces were fighting in Bakhmut and they were suffering heavy casualties but still failed to seize the city. The UK Ministry of Defense agreed with Clark’s report on Russia’s barrier troops. Military intelligence report pointed out that the tactic of shooting deserters may demonstrate the low quality, low morale, and other serious problems in Russian troops.