Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Moscow has launched a new campaign to encourage Russians to join the armed forces and fight in Ukraine, although the Kremlin previously denied it needed more recruits.

In an attempt to attract more volunteers to the front lines, Russian propaganda videos posted on social media in recent days attempt to appeal to Russian men through the narratives of patriotism, morality and upward social mobility.

Many clips depict the war as men’s escape from the grim reality of their daily lives – which, according to the videos, consists of vodka drinking, poverty and helplessness.

One of the plays, released 12/14, features a young man who chooses to fight rather than party with his friends, and then surprises everyone by using the money he’s earned from a military contract to buy a car.

In a video released on 12/15, a soldier’s former girlfriend is newly impressed by his bravery and begs him to get back together. In another video, a middle-aged man quits a factory job that doesn’t pay him enough to sign a military contract and go to the front lines.

Another video shows distinguished-looking Russian men in their 30s loading a car. An elderly woman asks where they are going, to which one of the men says, “Georgia. Forever.”

When another woman spills a bag of groceries, instead of helping, the posh men just get in the car and leave while a group of younger Russian men rush to collect the groceries. “The boys left, the men stayed,” says one of the older women.

In the meantimeReports and complaints of supply and equipment shortages in the Russian military continue to surface, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to resolve.

At a meeting with mothers of those mobilized in November, Putin suggested it was better to be killed fighting for the country than to drink vodka to death.

More background: At the end of September, Putin announced a “partial mobilization” that saw over 300,000 people mobilized across Russia as the war in Ukraine made no progress. The mobilization ended on November 1, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The exact number of dead Russian Soldiers in Ukraine remain unknown.

Thousands of men have fled Russia to avoid recruitment and fears of a second mobilization in the new year are mounting.

Putin has tried to reassure the public that there are currently no plans for additional mobilization.

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