Footage of a captured young Russian soldier weeping to his mom on a video call has swept across social media. It comes after President Zelenskyy announced the morale of Russian troops is rapidly deteriorating.
The Ukrainian president last night said he “sincerely admired” the heroic efforts his troops and civilians have made to thwart Putin’s invasion plans, which he deemed “sneaky [and] full of hatred for our people, our country”.
“We are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week. Plans written for years,” he said in videos posted on social media.
“Our military, our border guards, our territorial defence, even ordinary farmers capture the Russian military every day”.
His words of encouragement came after Ukrainian officials made the statement that 9,000 Russian soldiers had been killed since the invasion – but this figure was disputed by Moscow yesterday.
Following the president’s video posts, Ukrainian cities came under severely heavy fire later that evening, with two huge explosions ringing out in the capital Kyiv at around 2am local time. The Russians also reportedly captured Kherson – the first city to succumb to the invaders.
Before last night’s attacks, the Ukrainian civilian death toll was already thought to have passed 2,000, with the UN estimating at least 1 million refugees to have fled the country.
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Zelenskyy said Russian troops had been looting from local stores as their food supplies begin to dwindle. He went on to suggest Putin’s young soldiers (a number of whom were conscripted) did not understand why they were fighting:
“All the captives say only one thing: they do not know why they are here. Despite the fact that there are dozens of times more than them, the morale of the enemy is constantly deteriorating,” he said.
“These are not warriors of the superpower, these are confused children who were used”.
Meanwhile, a video of a young Russian soldier who had surrendered to Ukrainian civilians has reinforced the truth in Zelenskyy message.
The footage shows the young man who appears exhausted and bewildered surrounded by a group of female Ukrainian civilians. He’s seen gulping down a cup of hot tea and nibbling on a pasty as one of the women pats his back and says “everything is OK”.
As another woman hands the shaken young soldier a cell phone, he begins to openly weep as he video calls his mother. Clearly too distraught to talk to his mom he blows her kisses and sobs.
Video shared on Ukrainian channels of a captured Russian soldier apparently being fed by locals. The post says he burst into tears when he was allowed to video-call his mother. So many of these troops are just teenagers, with absolutely no clue what this war is really for. pic.twitter.com/oCPUC8cKcO
— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) March 2, 2022
The Ukrainian woman can then be seen speaking down the phone: “Natasha, God be with you. We will call you later. He is alive and healthy.”
A man’s voice off camera can be heard saying: “These young men, it’s not their fault. They don’t know why they are here. They are using old maps, they are lost”.
An official social media post by Ukrainian authorities said Russian mothers could come to collect their children if they had been captured. They would have to wait at the Polish border for a hand-over to ensue:
“We Ukrainians, unlike Putin’s fascists, do not fight mothers and their captive children. We are waiting for you in Kyiv!”