Ukrainians have launched a hotline for Russians who were drafted into the army against their will and want to save their lives. The counselors show them how to surrender to the Ukrainian army once they get to the front. The BBC has access to a record of many of these conversations.
The Ukrainians launched the project “I want to live” in September. As part of it, Russians sent to the front against their will could contact the Ukrainian side – by phone or via messenger – and agree on how to surrender to the “enemy” army once they entered. Ukraine.
According to the authorities in Kyiv, more than 3,500 people have benefited from the project since its launch. Russians – mobilized and men threatened with mobilization, as well as their family members.
BBC journalists met Svetlana (not her real name), who works on the I want to live hotline and gets calls from Russian recruits every day. The woman explained to them that most of the work is in the evening, when the Russians who have gathered in the barracks have free time and can escape for a moment on a call. – first a voice is heard, usually a male one. It’s often half desperate, half frustrated that callers don’t fully understand how our hotline works and if it’s a trap. There is also a sense of curiosity, because many call not to give up, but to see how they can do it if necessary, ”explained Svetlana.
Phone calls from Ross mobilized
She also released to reporters a record of fragments of several conversations she had with the Russians. One of them sounded like this: – I’m from Moscow. I haven’t received the subpoena yet, but they’ve already tried to deliver it to me. Can you advise me what should I do? I will not kill Ukrainians. I want to save my life. First, you need to apply through our chat. Secondly, if you end up in Ukraine, you need to be prepared. You should have a hidden phone with you to use once you are on the front line. – I’m a civilian. I want to become a citizen of Ukraine. I really want it all to end.
Another caller asked how he should act when he’s in the lead. – I don’t quite understand what to do when the Ukrainian army comes. Get down on your knees or what? How do you give up? Asked. – When you find yourself at the front, call us right away – he heard in response.
Svetlana did not disclose how many Russians she has actually helped. At the same time, she admitted that it happens that the hotline is called by Russian soldiers who are ready to fight, who want to provoke the Ukrainians. – But we cannot judge the whole country. The Ukrainian emphasized that most of them are worried primarily about their lives. The BBC adds that those who surrender are captured but are guaranteed to survive.
packing in Russia
“Partial mobilization” – as the president called it Russian President Vladimir Putin – announced in Russia Sept. 21. At the end of October, the independent Russian portal Mediazona reported that 41 people had died during its first month. In turn, the Ukrainian portal InformNapalm calculated this The average life expectancy of Russian conscripts going to the front is four days. Last week, the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that despite assurances that mobilization would end, Russia persisted. Secretly recruit new soldiers and plan its second wave.
Main image source: Arkady Budnitsky/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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