Though armed conflict in Ukraine is just days old, dramatic scenes of honor, courage, and struggle have already emerged, as evidenced by a Russian platoon’s decision to surrender to their opponents once they discovered the true reason they had been dispatched to the region, as The Hill reports.
According to Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., the Russian soldiers at issue declined to engage in conflict, saying they were unaware they had been “brought to Ukraine to kill Ukrainians.”
That turn of events is consistent with claims made by the Committee of Soldier’s Mothers of Russia, who, according to the Daily Mail, say that many of those in Putin’s fighting forces were deceived into enlisting in the military and were told they were heading to Ukraine for nothing more than practice drills.
The non-governmental advocacy group asserted that Russian men who attempted to back out of service in the armed forces were physically beaten, and that the committee had received “a flurry of calls from scared mothers all over Russia. They are crying, they don’t know if their children are alive or healthy.”
Deputy chairman of the group, Andrei Kurochkin, contended, “If there is a war, then professionals should deal with it, not untrained green guys,” adding that many of the men now being sent to combat were told they would be engaging in drills but then had their service contracts altered to indicate conflict duties.
“They are switching entire regiments to contract [soliders], although the guys did not submit any formal requests for his, and took no such initiative,” Kurochkin said, adding, “[t]here are instances of physical violence, and beatings of those who refuse to become contract soldiers.”
“After that,” Kurochin noted, “it’s completely unknown [what happens to them], because they take away their phones.”
The first days of conflict have revealed an intense desire on the part of Ukrainians to fight back against the Russian invasion, with Marakova declaring, “Ukraine is defending our home. We will defend our home and it’s time for all free and democratic nations who value the principles and the territorial integrity and the right of any country for peace to stand together with us, but not only stand together with us, act together with us to stop the war in Europe.”
Soldiers such as those described above are not the only Russians aghast at President Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian conquest, with prominent figures from the fields of entertainment, media, and industry in his nation joining thousands of everyday citizens to protest the war, but even so, hopes that any such popular outcry could temper the aggressive — indeed savage — designs of their country’s leader seem vanishingly slim.