In a press conference this past Wednesday hosted by Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russian prisoners of war expressed remorse for their involvement in the invasion of Ukraine. Some even went so far as to vow to rise up against President Valdimir Putin.
CNN interviewed 3 POW during the conference. One soldier had this to share to his fellow servicemen, “Our government told us we need to liberate the civilian population. I want to tell Russian servicemen: lay down your arms and leave your stations, don’t come here. Everyone wants peace here.” He continued, “I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we’ll rise against him.” Another POW seconded his opinion adding “You won’t hide this for long. There are many like us here. Sooner or later, we’ll come home.”
A soldier who goes by the name of Maxim commented on the treatment they had received as POW saying, “The treatment has been acceptable. They’ve offered us food and drink. They offered medical treatment.”
Maxim echoed concerns shared by other Russian service members throughout the war, that they were given little information about the planned invasion before it began. Maxim said he received his “secret combat order” the day before the invasion began. He also told CNN he believes that Russian claims that the military objective in Ukraine was to “denazify” the country and eradicate fascist elements were merely a pretext to “in order to achieve their own objectives.”
He continued, “It’s not just about demilitarizing Ukraine or the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but now cities of peaceful civilians are being destroyed. Even, I don’t know, what can justify, fuck, the tears of a child, or even worse, the deaths of innocent people, children.” Concerning the deadly Russian attack on a children’s hospital and maternity ward in the city of Mariupol he said, “It was a horrifying fact, not just because it is a crime,” Maxim said. “It’s vandalism. You cannot forgive such things. To bomb a maternity ward?”