Captured Russian officer apologizes for Ukraine ‘genocide,’ says they are ‘brain-washed’ by Putin

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A captured Russian officer publicly apologized to Ukraine for “genocide” in a televised statement where he pleaded for forgiveness after claiming Russia lied to troops.

National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich appeared at a press conference before Ukrainian media outlets after he, and the two soldiers who joined him, were reportedly captured last week. In the March 2 video posted by Channel 24, Mikhailovich assured that his statements were his own and that he was speaking freely.

Mikhailovich explained that Russian media outlets reported that, “Ukraine’s territory is dominated by fascists’ regime, nationalists, Nazis have seized power” and “ordinary people need some help to get rid of this ‘yoke.'”

He went on to state, according to the translation, that the information provided was unilateral and that there were doubts with what little they could gather from the internet. Those doubts grew for him when he arrived in Ukraine and saw that two of his favorite boxers, Ukrainian fighters Usyk and Lomachenko, had taken up arms saying, “We didn’t call you here.”

Mikhailovich repeated his great shame for invading Ukraine, explaining that his troops took little thought in their actions before posing the question is “redemption possible?”

“I cannot find the words to say sorry to the Ukrainian people,” he expressed, understanding that, whether through punishment or imprisonment, he may never truly be forgiven.

The POW also expressed his concern for Russians who are guilty of being misinformed and “constantly brain-washed” due to the lack of internet and the “unilateral information” that is available. If what Mikhailovich says is true, this adds weight to the recent law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that threatens the spread of any information deemed false.

With major media outlets drawing back from Russia and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter shutting off access there, it has become even more difficult to spread information in the country. For that reason, Mikhailovich emphasized the importance of the Ukrainian people to care for the health of Russian prisoners that they might return to their homes and tell the truth of what is going on.

“I just sincerely hope for your mercy toward those people who will come out to you with their hands up or those wounded,” Mikhailovich pleaded. “We should not sow death. It’s better to sow life.”

So far, reports have indicated that the Ukrainians have given comfort to Russian POWs and that they consider them of high value. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs went so far as to say, “Their lives are to be protected. They are needed for a prisoner exchange fund.”

The unidentified soldier sitting to Mikhailovich’s left added that the reports that Russian attacks are only aimed at military targets are false and that he remained in fear of friendly fire casualties from those long-range assaults.

“You are in a tense situation, going against your own commander. But this is genocide,” Mikhailovich declared. “Russia cannot win here anyway. Even if we go until the very end. We can invade the territory, but we cannot invade the people.”


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