One Russian military officer begged for forgiveness in a press conference after being captured by the Ukrainian military.
Lieutenant Colonel Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich spoke at a press conference on March 7.
At some point previously, the officer was captured after entering Ukraine. He identified his unit as a special rapid response element of Russia’s National Guard, according to the Daily Mail.
Mikhailovich claimed his commanders had falsely told him that Ukraine had come under a “fascist regime” and that Russian intervention was necessary to free the country from radical nationalists.
Describing the claims of fascism as “unilateral information,” Mikhailovich admitted he began to doubt Russian propaganda after two famous Ukrainian boxers he’d long admired took up arms in defense of the country.
“We brought sorrow to this land … We will go to jail or whatever we deserve. We’re ready for everything,” said Mikhailovich of his fellow prisoners.
The lieutenant colonel denied that his remarks came under any duress or were directed by his Ukrainian captors.
“I’ll give it to you straight. If someone came to my territory, I would do the same as these people did,” said Mikhailovich of Ukraine’s defenders.
“And I would be right! They are right now while I have to sit here and offer excuses.”
Mikhailovich urged his peers in the Russian armed force to “be brave” and to go against their own commanders.
Mikhailovich admitted he felt “shame” for participating in the invasion of Ukraine, a feeling he says is widespread among the invasion force.
“I cannot find the words to say sorry to Ukrainian people,” said Mikhailovich, admitting that he couldn’t object if Ukrainians found themselves incapable of forgiving him.
“Russia cannot win here,” said the POW of Vladimir Putin’s objectives.
“We can invade the territory, but we cannot invade the people.”
The officer expressed his fear that the invasion would render Russians outcasts in the world.
“A Russian would be ashamed to confess that he is Russian,” predicted Mikhailovich, should the Kremlin engage in a lengthy and brutal occupation of Ukraine.
Putin has cited a Russian imperialist claim painting Ukrainians and Russians as one people to justify his invasion.
Ukrainians have viewed themselves as a distinct nation from Russia for centuries, and favor forging new ties with the West and NATO — though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has admitted his dreams of joining NATO are likely to not come true — to protect their national independence.
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