The captured military personnel do not want to return to the frontlines, the Russian Defense Ministry says
Ukrainian soldiers that were captured as prisoners of war by Russia have decided to remain in the territory controlled by Moscow and allied forces, expressing reluctance to continue fighting, Russia's Ministry of Defense claimed on Saturday.
"Ukrainian prisoners of war belonging to the units of the Naval infantry, National Guard, air assault and ground forces chose to stay in the territory controlled by Russia because of their reluctance to fight and fear of being sent to the frontlines again," the ministry wrote on its Telegram channel.
The Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian POWs do not want to be used as "cannon fodder" and die on the battlefield while "carrying out criminal orders" issued by Kiev.
The Russian military also posted a video of what appears to be an interview with a Ukrainian POW who said he laid down his arms voluntarily and turned himself in to the allied forces.
According to the prisoner, he has been treated well and does not want to return to Ukraine as part of any future swaps.
Few soldiers manage to surrender voluntarily due to a crackdown by Ukraine's nationalist battalions, the ministry claimed, noting that the nationalists threaten to shoot any soldiers that seek to abandon their combat positions.
According to the ministry, the POWs have told of rampant corruption among the Ukrainian ranks, the use of intimidation tactics by Kiev, and "barbaric treatment of civilians who are used by [the] nationalists as human shields on a regular basis."
Earlier this month, Moscow claimed that it scrupulously observes the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, while Kiev's forces have tortured, starved, and deprived of medical care Russian POWs. At the time, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr Fomin also condemned the West's unwillingness to hold Kiev accountable for these violations and crimes.
In July, Moscow blamed Kiev, and Ukranian President Vladimir Zelensky personally, for the fatal shelling of a detention facility in the Donetsk People's Republic. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a missile strike using the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launcher killed 50 Ukrainian POWs, injuring another 73.