'They are not warriors': Zelenskyy's plea as Ukrainians comfort captured Russian troops

3 March 2022, 09:59 | Updated: 3 March 2022, 11:02

Viral footage shows a tearful Russian soldier, who has surrendered, being given tea and bread by Ukrainian people
Viral footage shows a tearful Russian soldier, who has surrendered, being given tea and bread by Ukrainian people. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russian troops are "not warriors of a superpower", as a video clip has circulated showing a surrendered Russian soldier comforted by Ukrainians.

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In the clip, the soldier can be seen crying on the phone to his mother whilst drinking tea and eating food, apparently given to him by locals.

He breaks down in tears and is comforted by those around him.

His mother can be heard saying: "Everything will be okay, my son."

A male voice off camera is then heard saying in Ukrainian: "These young men, it's not their fault. They don't know why they are here.

"They are using old maps, they are lost."

Sharing the clip on Twitter, one journalist wrote: "Video shared on Ukrainian channels of a captured Russian soldier apparently being fed by locals.

"The post says he burst into tears when he was allowed to video-call his mother.

"So many of these troops are just teenagers, with absolutely no clue what this war is really for."

Heartbreaking moment Russian soldier cries on call to his mother as he's comforted by Ukrainians

It comes after President Zelenskyy issued a powerful video message overnight calling for Russia to withdraw their troops, saying the soldiers are "confused children who have been used".

"Wherever they go, they will be destroyed," he said.

"In Nikolaevsk, the occupiers are forced to use tens of helicopters to pick up their killed and wounded - 19 and 20-year-olds.

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"What have they seen in their lives other than this invasion? But the majority of them are left all over the place.

"Ukraine doesn't want to be covered by the dead bodies of soldiers.

"Go home. With your whole army. Tell your officers that you want to live."

He added: "These are not warriors of a superpower.

"These are confused children who have been used.

"Take them home."

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It comes after several large blasts rocked the capital Kyiv overnight, hours after Russia claimed control of Kherson - the first major city they claim to have taken.

One of the explosions in the capital was compared to a small nuke.

It is unclear what the Russians were targeting.

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The UN Refugee Agency said this morning that over one million people have fled Ukraine since the war began a week ago.

Thousands of Ukrainians, including as many as 2,000 civilians, have died.

The Ukrainian Army estimated last night that 9,000 Russian troops had been killed in the fighting, but this figure has not been verified.

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Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday that the port city of Kherson was under complete Russian control.

He claimed the city's civilian infrastructure, essential facilities and transport are operating as usual and that there are no shortages of food or essential goods.

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He also added that talks between the Russian commanders, city administrations and regional authorities on how to maintain order in the city had begun.

The claims could not be immediately verified.

The UK's Ministry of Defence said whilst the key city had fallen into Russian hands, "strong Ukrainian resistance" had limited overall gains in the country.