Captured Russian commander says he's 'ashamed' of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

7 March 2022, 12:05 | Updated: 10 March 2022, 09:12

A commander said he feels "shame" about the invasion - pictured, a building on fire in Kharkiv
A commander said he feels "shame" about the invasion - pictured, a building on fire in Kharkiv. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A captured Russian commander has said he feels "shame" over Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and that he was not told he was going to war.

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In a video released by Ukrainian officials, Lieutenant Colonel Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich claimed he and his fellow troops had been lied to about the situation in Ukraine. He said he would be willing to go prison for his involvement.

"We were told that... Ukraine's territory is dominated by fascists' regime. Nationalists, nazis have seized power," the senior soldier told reporters.

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He said they were sometimes able to get information "from some other sources" and so they "had some doubts", but they could do "little analysis".

"We did not know the situation for sure," he said.

When they got to Ukraine, he said, locals there were "ready to take up arms".

"They [said] 'we didn't call you here," he said.

"And I feel shame that we came to this country."

The captured officer pleaded with the west not to "judge too harshly", saying he knew now he was "100 per cent wrong" but that most Russian people's "guilt is that they are misinformed".

"I feel sorry for people left in Russia," he said.

"[They] are not guilty. Their guilt is that they are misinformed.

"Some do not even have internet. They have no chance to use something alternative.

"They are constantly brain-washed.

"They get this unilateral information that Ukraine is seized by fascists."

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Despite that, he said he was willing to go to prison for the part he played in the invasion.

"We will go to jail or whatever we deserve," he said. "We're ready for everything."

Lt. Col. Mikhailovich also said he would try and communicate with people in Russia to get them to see the invasion for what it is.

"Maybe I really deserved to learn this lesson... so I could finally see and try to tell it to those who are in Russia," he said.

He also stated he had not made the comments due to pressure from Ukrainian officials.

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"For those who would watch this video: you might think about me whatever you want," he said.

"That I was forced, intimidated or the text was prepared in advance, whatever.

"I'll give it to you straight.

"If someone came to my territory I would do the same [as these] people did."

Russia invaded Ukraine 11 days ago.

Forces continue to advance through the country, although the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Sunday night they had made "minimal ground advances" over the weekend.

"It is highly unlikely that Russia has successfully achieved its planned objectives to date," the MoD added in its intelligence update.

Read more: Minister: Putin criticism of UK sanctions is a 'badge of honour' for Government

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Despite this, air and artillery strikes have continued on the cities of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Chernihiv.

They have been particularly heavy in Mariupol.

Despite a number of scheduled Russian ceasefires to allow people to flee, a number of civilians have been killed, something the Ukrainian president has said he "will not forgive".

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