As previously reported by SOFREP, Russia had asked China to supply it with military equipment and economic aid as they were reportedly feeling the effects of the economic sanctions from the West. New information has now revealed that Moscow had asked China for food to feed their starving Russian troops in Ukraine.

According to the two US officials who spoke to CNN about the request, Russia had asked for prepackaged, non-perishable military food known as “meal, ready-to-eat,” otherwise known as MREs, as they had been running low on food ever since the invasion began.

On March 7, SOFREP obtained information that the Russian forces had been sent to Ukraine with expired MREs. A video showing Ukrainian soldiers exploring the contents of a destroyed Russian fighting vehicle revealed that the MREs had been made in October 2013 and had expired in October 2015, making it seven years past its expiration date.

A possible reason for Russia’s ill-preparation for the invasion was that it expected Ukraine to fold immediately upon the start of the invasion. They did not anticipate the need for additional food supplies as they believed it would end very quickly. However, this was not the case as Ukraine had stalemated the more powerful Russian army at their own game with smart fighting across all fronts.

The most likely cause of the expired rations being sent to their troops is theft.  Corruption is rampant in the Russian army.  Pay is low and the opportunities to steal are met with ready customers on the black market. The question as to why a Russian supply unit would keep rations expired 7 years in its warehouses rather than discard them may be very simple. A supply unit has to keep a certain number of rations on hand and receives shipments to keep that stock at the required levels.  This resupply could be prompted by the commander reporting he has expired rations that have to be thrown away and replaced.  When he receives the new shipment, he sells the new rations on the black market and puts the expired rations in the larger cardboard container the new rations came in.  That large box says the rations are currently fresh but the rations inside are actually old and expired.  When his unit is inspected by headquarters, on paper it looks like he has a full supply of fresh rations in his warehouses, but the boxes are mostly full of expired rations.