Vladimir Putin is believed to have involved at least one convicted murderer (Photo: AP)

Vladimir Putin is reportedly recruiting convicted murderers and former military spies to bolster his forces on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Hundreds of prisoners are said to have been drafted into the army to supplement their numbers, and many agreed to sign up in exchange for a pardon.

The recruits are believed to include imprisoned former GRU military intelligence agents and other special forces personnel with military experience.

The Russian president is also believed to have cleared the way for prisoners convicted of heinous crimes, such as murder, who were previously denied bail.

The conscription was increased due to the huge losses and the shortage of troops ready to fight, despite Russia’s million-strong army.

The FSB security service, once headed by Mr. Putin, is also said to be involved.

Selected prisoners undergo two weeks of training before being transported to a war zone and placed in “assault teams” on the front lines.

Recruits will be sent to fight on the front line (Photo: Reuters)

“Some were chosen by the heads of the colonies. They were removed from their jobs in the prison camps against their wishes and ‘invited’ to talk,” a source told the SOTA news agency.

“These are former members of the military service or those who had sufficiently senior military ranks

“To others, the duty officer simply said, ‘who wants to go to war, go, put your name forward.’

The recruitment took place in the city of Bor in Nizhny Novgorod, where, as it is claimed, about 300 prisoners want to enter.

“They explain it as a desire to get amnesty and live normally after returning, for the sake of their families and children,” said a relative.

It is known that at least one person convicted of murder was sent to the front line in Donbass, and was promised that his conviction would be expunged after six months of service.

Those who choose to fight with the Russian army are being promised a payout of almost £3,000 and their families will receive £64,000 if they die.

Recruitment is also underway in the St. Petersburg detention centers of Yablonevka, Abukhov, and Fornosovo.

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Putin ‘enlisting convicted murderers and ex-military spies to fight in Ukraine’

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