Russian Military Sees Surge in Soldiers Surrendering: Kyiv

Russian Military Sees Surge in Soldiers Surrendering: Kyiv

An increasing number of Russian soldiers are purportedly surrendering or deserting their posts as the war in Ukraine stretches towards the two-year mark.

A Ukrainian military spokesperson claimed that over 100 Russian troops have surrendered near the embattled town of Avdiivka over the past month due to a dip in morale and harsh cold weather conditions, according to a report published by The Kyiv Post on Friday.

In Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, Ukrainian troops were reportedly observed firing shells loaded with leaflets that urged their Russian counterparts to wave the white flag, prompting at least some Russian military commanders to order that the leaflets be thrown away.

Ukrainian Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Kyiv’s ground forces, shared a video to Telegram on Friday that purports to show one of the Russian troops who surrendered to become a prisoner of war.

This photograph taken on September 11, 2022, shows an abandoned Russian tank in vegetation in a village on the outskirts of Izyum, Kharkiv Region, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A Ukrainian military spokesperson said there has been a recent spike in the number of Russian soldiers surrounding to Kyiv’s forces.
Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images
The prisoner, identified as Sergeant Sergey Saranchin, came to the conclusion that he “had been abandoned without food, shelter and water” after being deployed to the battlefield and quickly surrendered, alongside the rest of his unit, according to Syrskyi’s post.

“He believes that it is better to go to prison, to mow, than to go to war again,” Syrskyi wrote. “I would strongly advise the Russians not to enter Ukraine, because Russians do not live long in a war. I would like to ask [Russian President Vladimir] Putin why he killed so many Russians.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email on Friday night.

Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Tavria grouping of forces, claimed during an appearance on Espreso TV earlier this week that a full platoon of almost 40 Russian troops recently fled the battlefield, according to The Kyiv Post.

Shtupun said that the troops made the decision to “flee towards Crimea,” the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia has occupied since its illegal annexation in 2014, before being “hunted down” by their own army.

“Nearly 40 invaders left their trenches and tried to flee toward Crimea, while remaining armed,” Shtupun said. “I’m talking about an entire platoon of the Russian army. There were reports that they were being hunted down in an attempt to bring them back.”

While reports of demoralized Russian troops surrendering have been somewhat commonplace throughout the war, Moscow’s military may now be increasingly feeling the strain due to heavy losses suffered in a conflict that has lasted far longer than initially predicted.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has indicated that Kyiv will not consider ending the war without a victory, or even pausing hostilities, having ruled out a ceasefire with Russia during a press conference in Estonia on Thursday.

“A pause on the Ukrainian battlefield will not mean a pause in the war,” said Zelensky. “A pause would play into [Russia’s] hands. It might crush us afterward.”

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