Parents of some Russian soldiers have urged their sons to loot car components in Ukraine to make up for their low pay in the military, Ukrainian authorities said.
A father told his son, whom the father referred to as his “sponsor”, not to “stand out” so that he could “earn money and return home”, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement. Both were not named by the Ukrainian authorities.
The father also advised his son, who is currently stationed near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, not to pay attention to his low salary and make up for the lack of money with expensive Ukrainian cars, according to the agency.
“Disassemble Mercedes, they have expensive parts,” the father told his son in an alleged intercepted conversation shared by the SBU.
Russian conscripts, who make up about a quarter of all Russian soldiers, are paid 3,000 rubles ($35) a month, while regular soldiers are paid 62,000 rubles ($755) a month, according to a Financial Post report.
The soldier admitted that he had thought about doing what his father suggested, but claimed that “our commanders, as soon as they see those cars, they f*ck them up and ride them…or shoot them with machine guns.”
In response, the policeman’s father urged his son to take alternators or generators from Mercedes and Audi cars, which he says can be sold for between 10,000 and 20,000 rubles, or about $122 to $243.
A replacement alternator for Mercedes-Benz 300 series vehicles costs about $105 online, while one for an Audi A3 sedan is priced at $120.
“Dig a dozen generators – that’s 200,000 [rubles] ($2,430),” the father told his son.
There were earlier reports accusing Russian soldiers of looting items in Ukraine, including jewelry and artwork, among other things. The looted items are allegedly shipped back to Russia via CDEK, a Russian express delivery company.
Russian forces even allegedly set up a bazaar in Naroulia, Belarus, selling looted goods from Ukraine.
Items sold at the bazaar include refrigerators, jewelry, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, dishes, rugs, artwork, children’s toys, and cosmetics.
Looting is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“This is not an army. It is a shame. We will never forget and we will never forgive,” said Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, referring to the Russian forces.