In his late-night address, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed this Saturday to the Russian troops to alert them that their president, Vladimir Putin, knowingly “sends citizens to death.”
He also urged combat soldiers to put down your arms and assured them that they will be treated “in a civilized manner” and that “no one will know the circumstances of the surrender.”
“It is better to refuse a recruitment letter than to die as a war criminal in a foreign country,” Zelensky said. “It is better to flee a criminal mobilization, than to be crippled and later held responsible for participating in a war of aggression,” he added.
“It is better to surrender to the Ukrainian army,” he insisted, “than to die in attacks by our weapons, just attacks by Ukraine defending itself in this war.”
The Ukrainian president warned the Russians that they are part of a “mobilization to the graves” because they are being sent to their deaths. “Russian commanders do not care about the lives of Russians, they just need to fill the empty spaces left by the dead, the wounded, those who fled or the Russian soldiers who were captured,” Zelensky said in his usual late-night speech.
Zelensky’s statements, issued especially in Russianoccur after learning, last Wednesday, that the leader of the Kremlin ordered a ‘partial mobilization’ of 300,000 reservists to go fight in the war against Ukraine and after harden their sentences for those who refuse to fight.
According to the news agency TASSthe leader of the Kremlin ordered a series of reforms in the Criminal Code that aggravates the sanctions and punishes voluntary surrender, refusal to fight or desertion with up to 15 years in prison. Also, another law was modified that facilitates access to Russian citizenship to those foreigners who enlist in the army.
For its part, the decree released in a televised message on September 21 summons, in principle, “citizens of the reserve and those who were in the army who have experience.” In addition, in the statement, Putin explained that “all recruits will have additional training that will take into account the military conflict.”
The measure, which generated strong rejection in the West and in Russian society itselfunleashed a wave of demonstrations in cities across the country. During the first day of these clashes alone, the civil rights defense organization OVD-Info warned that the police arrested more than 1,300 people who, as punishment, they were also sent a summons to go to the battlefront.
Zelensky himself, last Thursday, had addressed the Russian people to incite them to demonstrate against the latest provisions of Moscow. “55,000 Russian soldiers have died in this war in six months. They want more? Nope? So protest! Fight! Run away! Or give up. They are your survival options,” he said.
In addition to the clashes in the streets, the measure provoked a mass exodus -mainly men- to neighboring countries such as Finland. Thus, traffic at the four main border posts used to the southeast increased by 50% and plane tickets sold out in a few minutes.
This migratory rise caused the country joins the decision of the three Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Poland to prohibit the entry of Russian citizens, regardless of whether they have visas.
In the last hours, Russia made another change in its strategy on the offensive and appointed Mikhail Mizintsev as the new “responsible for the material and technical supply of the armed forces”, as announced by the Ministry of Defense in a statement. Mizintsev, who headed the National Defense Control Center, replaces General Dmitri Bulgakov, who was relieved of his duties as deputy defense minister due to his transfer to another post.
(With information from AFP)
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