Ukraine: Russian prisoner of war speaks to his grandmother

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The soldier was filmed speaking to his grandmother on the phone lamenting he felt like he has “no value” to Russia despite actively fighting in Putin’s so-called “special operation” in Ukraine. The unnamed army man claimed Ukrainian forces had offered to send him back to Russia in exchange for the bodies of fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Reports have been emerging in recent weeks of Putin’s army leaving behind lower-ranking officers as Ukraine ramps up its efforts to push back Russian forces past the official border.

In the footage, the soldier can be heard saying: “They tried to exchange me alive for the corpses of Ukrainian soldiers.

“But the leadership of the Russian army refused and said that I had no value for them.”

The video emerged days after Pavel Filateev, a former Russian paratrooper who served in Ukraine for two months, was forced to flee for denouncing Moscow’s actions.

Mr Filateev became critical of the Kremlin and escaped to France following threats of incarceration.

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He told AFP: “When I heard the higher-ups were calling for me to be sentenced to 15 years in prison for fake news, I realised that I wouldn’t get anywhere here and my lawyers couldn’t do anything for me in Russia.”

The former soldier branded the Russian Army as barely functioning, lamenting the lack of suitable equipment and widespread corruption.

He continued: “Year by year the chaos and corruption grow. Corruption, disorder, and a couldn’t-care-less attitude have reached unacceptable levels.

“For the first few months I was in shock, I told myself that it couldn’t be true. By the end of the year, I realised that I didn’t want to serve in an army like this.”

Ukrainian forces destroy Russian vehicles

Mr Filateev added: “If the army was already a mess in peacetime, corrupt and apathetic, it’s clear that in wartime, in combat, that this will come even more to the fore and the lack of professionalism is even more obvious.”

Ukraine is known to have launched a campaign to reclaim the Kherson territory in recent days after having delivered a series of blows to the Russian Army in preparation for the attack.

Moscow’s troops are believed to have been cut off as bridges and pivotal roads were shelled to isolate enemy soldiers.

Chair of Urban Warfare Studies Major John Spencer said reports have now emerged of high-ranking officials quitting the front and repairing away from the main fight.

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Major Spencer said: “I think the key right now is the fact that Ukrainians have put into place a situation where you have Russians on the west side of the Dnipro who are now cut off.

“It’s going to be a tough fight on the defensive but [Russian soldiers] are demoralised now, certain leaders left last week who have been abandoned on this side, that’s a formal target.

“If the Ukrainians can take that part of the Kherson area that the actual city area west of the Dnipro, it would be a major win.

“[It would be] the first offensive win of Ukraine of this war but could be the tipping point of the change of tide and the start of the push to push Russians back.”

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