POW Admits Russia Sent ‘Unprepared’ Soldiers Without Training To Ukraine War

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'Who can stop this war,' the Ukrainian soldier pleaded after being pinned down to the same spot for five hours by exploding Russian shells
'Who can stop this war,' the Ukrainian soldier pleaded after being pinned down to the same spot for five hours by exploding Russian shells

Russia is sending soldiers to the war in Ukraine despite many of them being untrained and unprepared for the fighting, a Russian Prisoner of War (POW) said. 

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, a 21-year-old Russian serviceman identified only as Anton said members of his unit were sent to Crimea in late December to partake in a “one-week” training course. Anton said they were not made aware that they were being deployed to the war until the night before the invasion started on Feb. 24. 

“Many of the young guys couldn’t even imagine that we would go to war. They told us at the very last moment about this, the night before the invasion,” he said. “Ultimately, it is really not fair how the Russian authorities treated me. I was sent to Ukraine completely unprepared.”

Anton and other members of his unit were driven in armored vehicles to Mykolaiv before they were asked to continue on foot. Part of his unit, which split from the main group, was ambushed by Ukrainian forces on March 2. Anton said the bone in his hand got fractured after being hit with a Ukrainian bullet. 

Anton was later captured and transferred to a prison cell where Ukrainian guards mentally tormented him and other soldiers. However, he said he was not physically assaulted while he was in captivity. Anton was exchanged for a Ukrainian soldier in a one-for-one swap. 

Anton’s account echoes remarks made by a number of other Russian soldiers who said they were unprepared when they were sent to the war. Earlier this week, a contract serviceman serving in Russia’s National Guard said soldiers who were set to be deployed to the war were asked to use their own money to purchase military equipment. Some of the items they were asked to buy included footwear, body armor, a tactical vest and a helmet, which could cost over 200,000 rubles or $3,300 in total.

In mid-May, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate released a recording of an intercepted call where a Russian soldier complained that they were only given snipers “from 1945” to use in the war. 

The soldier also added that he and other members in his unit, including a battalion commander and a staff colonel, planned to flee the war due to a lack of equipment. 


Ukrainian servicemen load bodies of killed Russian soldiers to refrigerated rail car, in Kharkiv
Ukrainian servicemen load bodies of killed Russian soldiers to a refrigerated rail car, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, at a compound of a morgue in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 22, 2022.
Photo: Reuters / STRINGER

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