Putin’s troops are deliberately wounding and even killing themselves to avoid facing the horrors of war in Ukraine, according to one captured Russian soldier.
Captured soldier Andrey Ushakov, 20, said he knew of two soldiers who shot and killed themselves on the front line.
Others on the battlefield are choosing to shoot themselves in a bid to be sent home injured rather than continue on in the savage campaign.
Captured soldier Andrey Ushakov (right), 20, said he knew of two soldiers who shot and killed themselves on the frontline
They are hoping to be classified as Cargo 300, meaning wounded, while Cargo 200 means the war dead.
Ushakov told a Ukrainian journalist: ‘Everyone was panicking, and wanted to leave, but there was no way.
‘The only option to go was as 300. Some people couldn’t bear it, and shot themselves dead.’
He told his interrogator: ‘Two guys shot themselves, because they couldn’t [cope], there was no other way out .
‘Mentally they couldn’t cope with what was going on there.’
A grave of Russian soldiers is discovered in Vilkkhivka, near Kharkiv, with many troops desperate to escape the horrors of war
Ushakov (pictured) said Russians on the battlefield are choosing to shoot themselves in a bid to be sent home
As well as the fear of death in fighting with the Ukrainians, there was a shocking lack of rations, he said.
‘There was no food, no water,’ he told Volodymyr Zolkin who has chronicled Russian captives for Open Media Ukraine.
‘We were given little food in general. There were days when three of us shared one dry ration.’
He was asked what type of servicemen had taken their own lives with their army weapons.
‘Just the ordinary guys, privates from the 6th,’ he replied.
As well as the fear of death in fighting with the Ukrainians, there was a shocking lack of rations, he said. Pictured: destroyed Russian tank in Mariupol
Ushakov is from an impoverished village in Perm region, and signed up for the army hoping to make some money to help his family (pictured with his mother)
One soldier saw the horror of the war and ‘just walked away and shot himself’ dead.
Others are known to have shot themselves in their limbs hoping to be sent home.
Ushakov is from an impoverished village in Perm region, and signed up for the army hoping to make some money to help his family.
He said his mother was convinced by the propaganda on Russian TV.
He was permitted to call her from captivity in Ukraine, he said.
‘I told my mother that everything she saw on TV was lies, but she didn’t believe me,’ he said.
‘She literally asked me if I was under hypnosis when I told her everything she saw on Russian TV was lies.’
He had hoped to bring money home for his family by going to war but now he sees it as a mistake.
‘My dad is quite poorly, blind in one eye, deaf, and has heart problems. My mum has issues with blood pressure.
He urged other young men in Russia to resist a new recruitment drive back home
‘We have so many issues in our village. We sell gas everywhere in the world, but we don’t have gas in our village. And we only got electricity last year.’
He urged other young men in Russia to resist a new recruitment drive after Putin told the families of his dead fighters that they were ‘heroes’ comparable with those in the Second World War.
‘Don’t come here,’ he said. ‘There is nothing for us to do. We bring only pain… the people here are good.
‘And if we don’t value our lives, let’s not ruin the lives of others.’
Zolkin said 90 per cent of the captive soldiers he has interviewed are from ‘remote corners of Russia’.
‘Two days ago I came across two conscripts from St Petersburg.
‘They called their mothers, who told them that a captain who led them into a battle, and left them in the fight, had got back to Russia.
‘He filed a report that both of them were deserters.
‘They are now shocked and scared to go back home, because they would be jailed.’