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A captured Russian commander has spoken of his 'shame' for his involvement in the Ukrainian invasion.
Lieutenant Colonel Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich begged for forgiveness at a media conference with two other Russian soldiers and called the attacks on Ukraine 'genocide'.
He said he and his fellow soldiers were lied to and were operating under the false belief that the government had been overthrown by Nazis.
“I just sincerely hope for your mercy towards those people who come to you with their hands up, or those who are wounded," he said.
"We should not sow death. It's better to sow life.
“I don't know why we were doing it. We knew very little. We brought sorrow to this land."
The prisoner of war then explained how rife misinformation is in Russia, and how misled soldiers were before they were ordered to invade their western neighbour.
“I feel sorry for people left in Russia …they are not guilty. Their guilt is that they are misinformed," he said.
"If someone came on my land, I would do exactly what Ukrainians are doing…and I'd be right," Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Russian National Guard's special rapid response unit, said in a press conference.https://t.co/XEBrArd8ac#UkraineRussianWar pic.twitter.com/4zFrg6BpLw— MyCupsOfCoffee (@Mycupsofcoffee) March 7, 2022
"Some do not even have internet. They have no chance to use something alternative. They are constantly brain-washed.
"They get this unilateral information that Ukraine is seized by fascists."
The captured commander went on to say he is willing to go to jail for his part in the war.
"For those who would watch this video: you might think about me whatever you want, that I was forced, intimidated or the text was prepared in advance, whatever.
The full interview from Lieutenant-Colonel Astakhov Dimitry Mikhailovich, Senior Commissioner Department of Internal Affairs, representing the Russian Rapid Deployment Force in Ukraine.— Shirley FitzGerald (@limemalted) March 7, 2022
He is a truthful, brave, honorable man.https://t.co/cCjhbTHFaE
"They (Ukrainians) [said] 'we didn't call you here'…I feel shame that we came to this country.
“I cannot find the words to say sorry to the Ukrainian people."
He went on to deliver a stark message to Russians who were still fighting.
"I'm begging you, stop before it is too late...Russia cannot win here," he implored.
"If someone came to my territory, I would do the same as these people did and I would be right. They are right now.
"Guys, be brave. It's easier for me, I'm in this situation already. You are in a tense situation, going against your own commander.
"But this is genocide, the people are just killed."
The captured commander's story comes after reports of other Russian soldiers telling the same tale: that they were told by their government they were liberating their neighbour from the grip of Nazi rule.
A captured Russian soldier has been filmed imploring his family not to believe the narrative touted in his home country, claiming Vladimir Putin’s invading troops are killing civilians in Ukraine.
In the video, shared on Facebook by the Security Service of Ukraine, the prisoner of war said that the Kremlin was ‘brainwashing’ people and asked Russians not to believe everything that they hear in the media.
He also claimed that Russian troops are killing children and babies in Ukraine.
The soldier said: “What is happening here [in the Ukraine] is all Russia's fault. Neither Ukraine nor anyone else. They [Russian troops] killing people civilians. Babies are being murdered.”
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
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