A Russian killer who was released from prison to fight in the war has defected and joined the Ukrainian forces.
Yevgeny Nuzhin was jailed for 24 years for the 1999 killing, as well as the wounding of a second victim.
The 55-year-old was reportedly released following a visit to his prison in Ryazan region by Russian President Vladimir Putin's henchman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who offers convicts the opportunity to receive a presidential pardon in return for six months' service in the military.
However, Nuzhin decided to surrender to Ukraine after realising he was 'cannon fodder'.
"We were in training for seven days, the 7th squad was an assault unit," said Nuzhin.
"I don't even know how to explain the task of assault squads, I realised for myself - cannon fodder.
"You do something wrong - they zero out, it's called a firing squad."
Beyond looking after his own safety, Nuzhin explained that he was opposed to fighting for Russia's cause too, and he was detained on 4 September when he was sent to retrieve the bodies of slain Russian soldiers.
He said: "I would like to continue fighting on the side of the Ukrainians so I surrendered and made my decision a long time ago.
"Because it was not Ukraine that attacked Russia, it was Putin who attacked Ukraine.
"I cannot go to war against my relatives, my sister, my uncle, my daughter."
It is unclear what the future holds for Nuzhin, whose wife and child are still in Russia.
Meanwhile, Putin has announced a partial mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine approaches the seven-month mark.
Putin also warned the West that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory, saying: "It's not a bluff."
He accused the West in engaging in 'nuclear blackmail' and noted 'statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading Nato states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia'.
He added: "To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of Nato countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal."
The total number of reservists to be called up is 300,000, Russian officials said.
Only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilised, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said. He added that there are around 25 million people who fit this criteria, but only around one percent of them will be mobilised.
Mr Putin’s address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia.
The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following recent Ukrainian successes on the battlefield.
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