Starving Ukrainian Soldiers Swim Across Dnepr River to Surrender to Russians
12:54 GMT 17.08.2023 (Updated: 13:00 GMT 17.08.2023)
Ukrainian soldiers crossed the Dnepr River on a boat to defect to the Russian Armed Forces. One of the defectors from Kiev's army told Sputnik that together with two of his fellow troops, they decided to surrender to the Russian military after three days on the front lines due to neglect by their commanders, lack of combat training and hunger.
The defector said that what drove him to this decision was the brazen negligence of his commanders, who abandoned his unit on the front without providing any weapons and food.
According to him, he was trained for only five days at a "training facility" in the Zhitomir Region.
"I don't get it, is it possible to learn something in such a short period of time?" he wondered. After that, the soldier was sent to the 123rd brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. On the second day after his arrival in the Kherson region, where the brigade is stationed, he found himself stationed on the right bank of the Dnepr.
"There was constant artillery and mortar fire from the left bank, we couldn't even carry out the tasks assigned to us by our commander... I only saw him on the first day. He stayed in the rear all the time and never came to us. On the third day, hunger set in. They said the rations couldn't be delivered because of the fuel shortage. They said we had to buy it with our own money, but our pockets were empty," the defector complained.
The fighter refused to risk his life any further under such conditions without being properly trained and prepared.
"So, I decided to surrender at the first opportunity," he added.
According to him, the opportunity to escape came about a week later.
"On the banks of the Dnepr, I spotted a boat during the day. At night, we crossed the river with two of my comrades who were on board with the plan. We found a white piece of cloth, tied it to a stick and set off. We had three rifles and a grenade launcher. It was really nerve-wracking because our guys could have started shooting at us at any moment," the former Ukrainian military officer said.
The three defectors were detained by the Russian military on August 8 in the area between the settlements of Velikaya Lepetykha and Zavodovka on the left bank of the Dnepr
. They were carrying three AK-74 assault rifles, 360 rounds of 5.45 millimeter ammunition, a portable anti-tank grenade launcher and three rounds of ammunition.