The stories of Russian soldiers who refuse to fight in Ukraine

Soldiers who don't want to fight
Some Russian soldiers do not want to be a part of Putin's war
Giving up the fight
  Deceived
Little information was given to Russian soldiers
Feeling shame
A state of shock
Why one soldier left
Soldiers can legally resign
They don't even give what they promised
Ukraine claims Russian soldier resignations occur daily
Soldiers' Mothers
Regulations must be followed
Superiors don't always respect soldiers wishes
An army in disarray
Nearly 30,000 Russians killed in Ukraine?
No mass resignations
General mobilization
Will Putin call for full mobilization of the military?
Soldiers who don't want to fight

What happens when a soldier decides that they no longer want to fight in a war? Turning your back on your homeland is not an easy decision and can have severe consequences.

Some Russian soldiers do not want to be a part of Putin's war

In Ukraine, some Russian soldiers have taken the step of resigning because they believe that the war they are fighting is unfair or because they feel that they have been sent to the slaughterhouse.

Giving up the fight

These soldiers have chosen to give up the fight, and their testimonies eloquently show how the war in Ukraine is progressing.

Deceived

CNN obtained the testimony of an officer (whose name was not revealed) who was sent to Crimea and, by surprise, found himself penetrating Ukrainian territory. He and his fellow battalionmen were trickily led into a war they believed would never break out.

Little information was given to Russian soldiers

In the case of the military man who offered his testimony to CNN, he claims that they were not told they would be assisting with the "denazification" of Ukraine.

"What are we doing here?"

Instead, they were sent there without much idea of why. The soldier told CNN, "We were not hammered with some kind of 'Ukrainian Nazis' rhetoric. Many did not understand what this was all for and what we are doing here."

Feeling shame

The soldier told the news outlet how he felt the need to hide his face in shame as he was embarrassed to be invading Ukrainian land.

A state of shock

As the Russians fell under heavier attack from the Ukrainians, the soldier said,
"For the first week or so, I was in a state of aftershock. I didn't think about anything."

Why one soldier left

The man who spoke to CNN recounted how, after seeing the rejection that the Russian presence caused among the people of Ukraine, he decided to leave.

Soldiers can legally resign

Military professionals can legally resign and he did. The military warned him that a criminal case could be opened against him but he went ahead. Finally they let him go but not in all cases it is so easy.

"That is not our war"

Within the dense smoke caused by the propaganda of one side or the other, the truth is that there does seem to be a good number of Russian soldiers who have refused to fight in Ukraine. One of them, also anonymous, told Reuters: "This is not our war."

They don't even give what they promised

One of the problems is that, according to the soldier with whom Reuters was able to speak, the Russian army does not even keep its promises: “(Back in Russia) we were lined up and told that everyone would get a daily allowance, extras for fighting and medals,” he said. But he said that they did not get the extras they expected. “We decided to quit. There were 14 of us.”

Ukraine claims Russian soldier resignations occur daily

The Ukrainian authorities assure that resignations occur daily in all areas (soldiers, officers, basic or elite units) and that in some battalions 70% have resigned. However, due to war propaganda it is hard to say how much of this information is accurate.

Soldiers' Mothers

Valentina Menlikova, from the Committee of Mothers of Russian Soldiers, assures that, although the exact number cannot be known, there are many soldiers who present their resignation.

Regulations must be followed

Russian soliders have a right to resign per their professional contract. We must remember that Russia has not declared war on Ukraine and, therefore, has not incorporated forced conscripts into its army. Those who resign are not deserters, so long as they do so following the regulations.

Superiors don't always respect soldiers wishes

But, according to the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, resignation is not an easy thing. It must be presented to a superior and always depends on the good will of said command, who may just decide to throw it in the trash.

"People around us were dying"

There is little triumphalism in the testimonies of people who gave up their fight in Ukraine. The soldier who spoke to CNN said: ""We were dirty and tired. People around us were dying. I didn't want to feel like I was part of it, but I was a part of it."

An army in disarray

It is true that Russia has managed to stabilize the war and gain ground after a disastrous start, but reports of an army acting in disarray, lack of supplies and too many casualties are repeated.

Nearly 30,000 Russians killed in Ukraine?

Ukraine calculates that so far 29,200 Russian soldiers killed in this war, according to Deutsche Welle. NATO lowers that figure to between 7,000 and 15,000. Russia only admits to 1,351.

"We didn't know we were coming to a war"

The testimonies of soldiers who did not know where they were sent are plentiful. Early in the fighting, Ukraine released videos of captured Russian soldiers being allowed to talk to their mothers on the phone and admitting they were shooting at civilian targets. Incidentally, these recordings are contrary to the Geneva Convention: prisoners may not be exhibited or used in any way (even as propaganda).

"Cheated"

Another video that went viral showed soldiers assuring that they were returning home feeling "cheated" because they had been told that they were only going to carry out military maneuvers.

No mass resignations

However, despite the accounts that the Western media have been able to obtain of soldiers who have resigned, it is unlikely that a mass resignation will occur and embarrass the Russian army. Unless things get much worse.

General mobilization

Either way, Putin would be left with the recourse of declaring war and calling for a general mobilization: the forced enlistment of thousands of civilians. A very tricky move.

Will Putin call for full mobilization of the military?

Forced enlistment would cause extreme strain on Russian society and would convey the message that Russia is truly in danger of perishing. If this mobilization occurs, the consequences in Russian society (and in the course of the conflict itself) will be unpredictable.

 

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