A Russian commander captured by Ukraine condemned Moscow’s “genocide” invasion — saying in a remarkable televised statement that the troops were duped into believing Kyiv had been overthrown by Nazis and needed liberating.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich, who was captured along with two other soldiers, said he had been told they were being sent to help Ukraine because it was “dominated by a fascist regime” and that “nationalists and Nazis had seized power.”
“Obviously, this information was unilateral information,” Mikhailovich told reporters in a video that emerged Monday.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich condemned Moscow’s “genocide” invasion.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich said the troops were duped into believing Kyiv had been overthrown by Nazis and needed liberating.
The captives begged for “mercy” from Ukrainians.
Captured Russian soldiers answer questions from journalists during a press conference organized by the Ukrainian Security Service in Kyiv.
The body of a man killed in a Russian rocket attack lies amid the debris, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
The captured Russian officer apologized to Ukraine.
The colonel said his doubts were further confirmed when he found out that his favorite boxers, Ukrainians Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, planned to fight for the resistance.
The captive begged for “mercy” from Ukrainians and said he was ready to “go to jail” for taking part in the brutal offensive.
“I feel shame that we came to this country,” the colonel said. “I don’t know why we were doing it. We knew very little. We brought sorrow to this land.”
Captured Russian soldiers answer media questions at a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich and his comrades had been told they were being sent to help Ukraine because it was “dominated by a fascist regime.”
The POW also urged Ukraine to let Russian troops live.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich was captured along with two other soldiers on Thursday.Channel 24
Telling reporters that he was speaking freely, the high-ranking officer apologized to the Ukrainian citizens, who have come under direct fire by the invading forces.
“I cannot find the words to say sorry to the Ukrainian people,” Mikhailovich said, adding he would understand if Russia was never forgiven.
A woman pauses after crossing a destroyed bridge as she evacuates from the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022
People cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate from the town of Irpin, on the only escape route used by local residents.
Two bodies of civilians who were killed while attempting to flee the city.
A factory and a store burn after having been bombarded in Irpin.AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
“Many of them are just embarrassed. They do not want war,” the downcast man said.
“I just sincerely hope for your mercy toward those people who come to you with their hands up, or those who are wounded. We should not sow death — it’s better to sow life,” he said.
Mikhailovich urged his troops to “be brave” and oppose their commanders.
The captive said he was ready to “go to jail” for taking part in the brutal offensive.
National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich urged his troops to “be brave” and oppose their commanders.
The troops were told “nationalists and Nazis had seized power.”
The troops were told “nationalists and Nazis had seized power.”Channel 24
“You are in a tense situation, going against your own commander. But this is genocide,” he said. “Russia cannot win here anyway. Even if we go until the very end. We can invade the territory but we cannot invade the people.”
Footage of Mikhailovich and other captured Russian soldiers has raised questions about whether Ukraine is violating the Geneva Conventions, which provide POWs with protections.
According to Article 13: “Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.”
Andrew Stroehlein, a human rights activist who serves as European media director of Human Rights Watch, said in a tweet that “humiliating or making POWs a subject of public curiosity or ridicule is strictly prohibited by the laws of war.
A residential building damaged by shelling in Mykolayiv, Ukraine, March 7, 2022.Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS
“Although it may seem in some videos that POWs are free to speak as they wish, they are held captive by another military force, and it’s almost impossible to judge from one video the conditions they face,” he wrote.
Stroehlein said “this prohibition protects families of soldiers back in their home country who may face retaliation if it is known that their family members have been captured.
“These rules apply equally to #Ukrainian forces that capture Russian soldiers, and #Russian forces that capture Ukrainian soldiers,” he added.