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Russian soldiers captured by Ukraine have revealed their fears of being killed if they are sent back home regarded as failures.
While President Vladimir Putin has been vocal in his praise of Russian troops, reports have flown in around soldiers disobeying orders and of the Kremlin leader having overestimated the capabilities of his force.
While the Ukrainian defence ministry has invited mothers of captured Russian soldiers to travel to Kyiv to collect them, troops have since claimed they will be 'dead' if they return back to their country.
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. pic.twitter.com/oCPUC8cKcO— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) March 2, 2022
At a press conference in Kyiv, one soldier from Russia's 2nd Motor Rifle Division said his parents had already prepared his funeral for when he returned home, The Telegraph reports.
He said: 'In Russia we are already considered dead. I was given the opportunity to call my parents and they told me that a funeral for me had already been arranged.
'If we are exchanged, then we will be shot by our own people.'
The Ukrainian Security Service has recorded videos of captured Russian troops crying and accusing Putin of lying to them about the 'special military operation', which first began when they crossed the border on Thursday, February 24.
While Putin branded Russian soldiers the 'real heroes' of the invasion, troops have accused the president of using them as 'meat shields' and failing to properly recover the bodies of fallen soldiers.
One military personnel stated: 'I wasn’t even aware of going to kill [people]. They wanted us to go to war like cannon fodder. All of us were shot immediately.'
Since the invasion first began, more than 11,000 Russian troops have been killed, according to Ukrainian officials.
Social media has subsequently played a hugely impactful role in the ongoing war.
It is hoped by Ukraine that videos of Russian military prisoners crying, demoralised and wounded posted online will knock the support for Putin and the invasion.
However, the footage posted by the Ukrainian Security Service has been condemned by the International Red Cross who said the videos break the Geneva Convention.
It stated: 'The law states they must be protected. This includes from acts of violence, intimidation and ill-treatment.
'They also must be treated with dignity and not exposed to public curiosity – like circulating images on social media.'
Alongside the fear of death or punishment captured Russian soldiers could face upon returning home to the Kremlin, anyone who criticises the war could reportedly be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
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