Frantic Putin employs Dad’s Army to stop counter-offensive from Ukraine

Vladimir Putin is ordering thousands of guns to be handed out to a new Dad’s Army-style force in a desperate line of defence against anti-Putin partisans making incursions into Russia.

Three thousand local men have been put through training as a territorial defence force after repeated incursions from Ukraine, which have been mainly seen as the result of Russians fighting against the dictator’s autocratic war-mongering regime.

Pro-Kremlin outlet Readovka said: “The need to issue small arms to volunteers who decided to defend their homes on their own became acute after the criminal attacks on our land.

“The fighters were trained for more than six months [since winter], and finally they will be able to stand up for themselves, their homes and the Fatherland.

“Now the defenders of their homes will meet the enemy, at least with automatic bursts.”

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While the age is 18+ for recruits to the Dad’s Army force, many are “senior” and there is no requirement to undergo medicals before joining up for training and being issued with guns.

The pro-Putin governor of Belgorod the site of the most significant incursion, is also seeking a legal route to arm local forces.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said: “I personally reported to President Vladimir Putin with the proposals that we had already formed. I heard words of support.”

He is seeking a legal route in talks with the FSB, Defence Ministry, and Russian national guard.

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The move follows “fear and panic” in border towns like Shebekino from which Gladkov last month ordered residents to retreat.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has promised a “harsh response” to the cross-border incursions.

Ukraine denies involvement in the alleged drone raids in Shebekino on June 1 – and two Russian paramilitary groups opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin say they were behind it.

Reporting to defence ministry officials on the incursion, Mr Shoigu said “more than 70 Ukrainian nationalists” had been killed and the rest pushed back into Ukraine.

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“We will continue to respond to such actions by Ukrainian militants promptly and extremely harshly,” he said.

The two Russian paramilitary groups – the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Liberty of Russia Legion (LSR) denied that they had sustained any casualties, and said a Russian motorised rifle company had been destroyed.

Gladkov has invited civilians to return to the evacuated Shebekino within the next two weeks.

According to the governor, the authorities are planning to restore infrastructure and repair damaged buildings in the town.

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