Several Russian POWs say they want to remain in Ukraine
Several Russian prisoner of war (POWs) have expressed a desire to stay in Ukraine, fearing for their lives if they return to Russia from captivity.
At a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday, one of them, Andrei Chebotarevskiy of the 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."
He said: "If we are exchanged, then we will be shot by our own people." He also denied the information that only contract soldiers are fighting in the Russian army in Ukraine. Conscripts are here, they are present at this table," he said.
Another serviceman, Yevgeny Smirnov, said that he "was shocked when I was shown in captivity what the Russian army was doing in Ukraine. Civilians are living in bomb shelters, the [Russian] army is shooting at old people," he said, adding that if he returns to Russia he would be "either be imprisoned or shot."
According to him, "the number of dead among the Russian military has already reached 12,000, and many people have also died on the Ukrainian side."
Aleksei Babikhin said he wanted to stay in Ukraine "as long as the Putin regime remains in power in Russia."