With practically no military experience, a Russian soldier is sent to war on his own terms. He was only informed about this the night before. "It's not fair how the Russian authorities treated me," said the 21-year-old, who was taken prisoner in Ukraine.
A Russian soldier has told the Guardian that he was not prepared for the war in Ukraine. "Ultimately, it's really not fair how the Russian authorities treated me. I was sent to Ukraine completely unprepared," the 21-year-old told the British newspaper. According to this, he had spent 45 days in Ukrainian captivity before being released through a prisoner exchange and is now on Russian territory.
According to his own statements, the man, who comes from a small town in Siberia, joined the Russian army in December shortly after graduating from vocational school. In the last few days of December, his unit was transferred to Russia's annexed Crimea peninsula, where he was told he would be taking part in a "week-long" training course. By this time, by his own admission, he had received virtually no military training that would have adequately prepared him for full-scale war.
As the weeks in Crimea progressed, the soldier said, some members of his unit began to fear they might be sent to war. He himself still thought it was completely "absurd". "They only told us about it at the very last moment, the night before the invasion," he said. According to the Guardian, the 21-year-old's description echoed that of other Russian soldiers, who also said they didn't know they were going to war until they invaded Ukraine.
The 21-year-old and his unit eventually clashed with Ukrainian soldiers near Mykolaiv. "It was our first confrontation with the enemy; we hadn't even fired a shot. They ambushed us and we couldn't fight back. We had to surrender."
He was not physically attacked during his captivity, but Ukrainian guards psychologically tortured him and other Russian soldiers. "We were constantly told that Russia was finished, that we belonged to the bottom of society. They threatened to starve us," the 21-year-old told the newspaper. During this time he suppressed all feelings and tried not to think about his life. "But now I have terrible dreams and I can hardly sleep. I've gained a lot of weight," said the soldier from Siberia. He's looking for ways to leave the military forever. "I just want to go home."