Russian soldiers REFUSING to fight in Ukraine: ‘I want to go home’

Ukraine: Russian tank destroyed by missile near Izyum

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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to falter, President Vladimir Putin is taking more direct decisions, according to Western military sources. Claims include that Putin has become so personally enrapt in the war that he is making operational and tactical decisions “at the level of a colonel or brigadier”. But as the war rumbles on, various reports have indicated that many Russian soldiers are confused or even sceptical about the invasion. Last week, the Guardian reported that some soldiers are refusing to fight knowing that the punishment will only be light because the country isn’t technically at war, with Putin repeating the “special military operation” line regulalrly.

Dmitri, a member of a Russian unit who spoke to the newspaper, said: “It soon became clear that not everyone was on board with it.

“Many of us simply did not want to go back. I want to return to my family – and not in a casket.”

Along with eight others, Dmitri told his commanders that he refused to rejoin the invasion.

He added: “They were furious. But they eventually calmed down because there wasn’t much they could do.”

Dmitri has since been stationed in Belgorod, a Russian city close to the border with Ukraine, and now intends to quit the army.

He said: “I have served for five years in the army. My contract ends in June. I will serve my remaining time and then I am out of here.

“I have nothing to be ashamed of. We aren’t officially in a state of war, so they could not force me to go.”

Mikhail Benyash, a lawyer who has been advising soldiers who intend to refuse to fight, explained what choices these disenfranchised fighters have.

Troops who refuse to fight in Ukraine can face dismissal but cannot be prosecuted, he said.

Mr Benyash also says he has had “hundreds” of soldiers contact him for help.

He went on: “Commanders try to threaten their soldiers with prison time if they dissent, but we tell the soldiers that they can simply say no.

“There are no legal grounds to start a criminal case if a soldier refuses to fight while on Russian territory.”

Chaos within the Russian forces continues to be reported this week.

Moscow’s forces have claimed that Russian commanders are slaughtering their own wounded soldiers instead of retrieving them from the battlefield for treatment.

A lieutenant colonel was accused of personally shooting dead multiple troops as they lay injured.

The chilling account comes from young army intelligence troops captured by the Ukrainians.

As reported by the Mail, one soldier told how commanders had “finished off their wounded”.

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Asked by Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Zolkin what he meant, the captured Russian said: “Just like that…a wounded soldier is lying on the ground, and a battalion’s commander shoots him dead from a gun.”

He explained: “It was a young man, he was wounded.

“He was on the ground. He was asked if he could walk, so he was shot dead with a gun.”

They are shown speaking in a video clip made by Mr Zolkin who has chronicled Russian captives for Open Media Ukraine.

A second soldier said in the video: “The most important thing – this wasn’t a single case. The Lieutenant-Colonel was walking around [shooting people]”

They are shown speaking in a video clip made by Mr Zolkin who has chronicled Russian captives for Open Media Ukraine.

A second soldier said on the video: “The most important thing – this wasn’t a single case. The Lieutenant-Colonel was walking around….”

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