Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces claim they’ll face a a dark fate at home and that their “funerals have already been arranged”.
Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces claim they’re “already considered dead” at home and fear they’ll face a firing squad if they’re sent back by exchange.
One soldier, speaking at a press conference in Kyiv, said that he had been told by his parents that a funeral had already been prepared for him, The Telegraph reports.
The soldier, deployed with Russia’s 2nd Motor Rifle Division, said: “In Russia, we are already considered dead. I was given the opportunity to call my parents and they told me that a funeral for me had already been arranged.
“If we are exchanged, then we will be shot by our own people.”
Another captured Russian soldier described on Tuesday how he was shot at by his fellow troops when they tried to protect Ukrainian civilians.
His comrade, a lieutenant, was killed right next to him while trying to save a woman in her 20s, and her mother, after Russian soldiers were given orders to fire on civilians in Kharkiv on February 24. The captured soldier claimed he was shot in the foot, and the lieutenant killed, when other troops realised the pair wasn’t shooting at the civilians.
Vladimir Putin’s faltering invasion has seen morale among his forces plummet in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Sobbing Russians have been filmed telling their captors they had no idea where they were being sent or that they were told by their leader that Ukrainians needed them to combat fascists.
But, while the tactic of filming demoralised Russian conscripts has been praised as effective, the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that it breaks the Geneva Convention.
In a statement, a spokesman for the International Red Cross said: “The law states they must be protected. This includes from acts of violence, intimidation and ill-treatment.
“They also must be treated with dignity and not exposed to public curiosity – like circulating images on social media.”
Several of Russia’s troops have already surrendered without a fight in Ukraine, according to reports.
As Russia’s forces ran out of food and fuel, some resorted to looting, while others are even reportedly sabotaging their own military equipment in a bid to get out of the war during its first week.
At that time, footage started emerging of captured Russian soldiers crying as they claim they had no idea what to expect in Ukraine.
Intercepted radio messages indicated troops were disobeying orders from Moscow to shell Ukrainian towns, and complaining about running out of food and fuel.
The recordings, obtained by British intelligence company ShadowBreak, included a soldier who appeared to be crying.
In another recording, a soldier loses his temper as he asks when food or fuel will arrive.
“We’ve been here for three days! When the hell is it going to be ready?” he can be heard shouting.
A third recording features a tense exchange in which the same soldier refuses to use artillery on an area until civilians have left.
Separate videos are believed to show frustrated Russian troops retreating, while one soldier is said to have texted his mother: “The only thing I want right now is to kill myself.”
Many of troops Russia’s troops are highly inexperienced conscripts who didn’t even know they were being sent to war, according to reports.
Soldiers desperate to avoid combat have even “deliberately punched holes” in their vehicles’ petrol tanks, a US official told The New York Times.
A number of unverified videos and pictures on social media show expensive Russian military vehicles abandoned by troops, often fully-fuelled and loaded.
One picture shows a Russian thermobaric TOS-1A tank – a so-called “vacuum bomb” captured by the Ukrainian army.
The tweet claims the tank was abandoned in good condition and fully-loaded.
Rob Lee, a PhD student at King’s College London’s Department of War Studies, shared pictures of an abandoned Russian short-range air defence system, a Tor-M2, left by troops in Ukraine.
In Mykolaiv, abandoned Russian equipment was left with the engine running by the side of the road.
On top of that, many troops have been shocked by the backlash from ordinary Ukrainians to their invasion, having expected to be welcomed as liberators.
Weeping prisoners of war have said in videos they were sent as “cannon fodder” and claimed they had no idea they were being sent to war and being made ”to attack people defending their territory”.
In a video posted to Ukrainian security services’ Facebook page, an injured Russian soldier sat in front of a Ukrainian flag was filmed saying: “This is not our war. Mothers and wives, collect your husbands. There is no need to be here.”
Other footage showed a handcuffed Russian prisoner in tears saying into the camera: “They don‘t even pick up the corpses, there are no funerals.”
Another captured Russian said they had been forced to attack civilians in Ukraine who were “just defending their territory”.
He said: “No one has attacked us and what Russia wants from the war, I cannot understand. Mum, dad, I love you.”