An untrained Russian conscript sent 6,000 miles from his home to fight in the war has accused Vladimir Putin of forcing “children” to the frontline.
An 18-year old - his ID has been protected by the Sun, surrendered to the Ukrainians after suffering shrapnel wounds in his arm and leg after his commanders “fled”.
He was found “exhausted, frightened and helpless”, said his captors.
The Russian teen, from Kamchatka on Russia’s Pacific coast, was conscripted to the marines but had no training before being ordered to join Putin’s struggling armed forces in Ukraine.
In a video message made in captivity, he begged the pro-war Russian state media to “open their eyes” to recent draftees being sent into battle with no battle training.
This is against regulations and directly flouts a promise Putin made to Russian mothers two months ago on International Women's Day.
“I was born in 2004, military unit 10103, conscript,” he said in his video message.
“I was sent to Ukraine along with 102 fellow servicemen from the 40th Krasnodar-Kharbin brigade.
“On 7th [May], I got shrapnel wounds to my arm and leg.
“I spent two days in the woods, and then I decided to voluntarily surrender to Ukrainian troops.
“I was given first aid, and everything essential.
“I also want to speak to the media in the Russian Federation
“And open their eyes to the fact that it is not only contract officers who fight here, but also children like myself, conscripts.”
Putin promised Russian mothers on 8 March in a Kremlin address: “Conscripts are not engaged, and will not be engaged in military actions.”
This young Russian POW is proof that this is fiction, and it is now believed that two-thirds of the crew of the sunk Moskva warship were also conscripts.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier promised Putin to stop conscripts being deployed but it appears General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, continues to send them to war.
Highlighting his case, Ukrainian Telegram channel Ishi svoikh said: “Despite the loud statements of Putin and the rest of the trash from among the ‘leadership’ of the Russian Federation, conscript ‘liberators’ continue to take part in the war.…
“The wounded, exhausted, frightened and helpless soldier came to Ukrainian army positions because there was nowhere else to turn.
“Most of his unit was defeated, and the commanders had fled.
“Most of the injured conscripts from the same unit are in medical institutions in Ukraine, and in the near future they will testify against the Russian Federation.
“This fighter asked to make public the fact he is in Ukraine.”
The train journey from Vladivostok to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, is some 4,435 miles.
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