In a remarkable televised statement, a Russian commander captured by Ukraine condemned Moscow’s genocide invasion, saying the troops were duped into believing Kyiv had been overthrown by Nazis and needed to be liberated.
Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich of the National Guard, who was detained with two other soldiers, said he was told they were being deployed to help Ukraine because it was ruled by a fascist dictatorship and nationalists and Nazis had taken power.
His misgivings were confirmed, according to the colonel, when he learned that his favorite boxers, Ukrainians Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, were planning to fight for the resistance.
The captive pleaded Ukrainians for forgiveness and stated that he was willing to go to jail for his role in the savage onslaught.
The high-ranking officer apologized to Ukrainian citizens who had fallen under direct fire from the invading forces, telling reporters that he was speaking freely.
“I cannot find the words to say sorry to the Ukrainian people,” Mikhailovich stated, noting that he understood if Russia was never pardoned.
The POW also encouraged Ukraine to allow Russian forces to remain in the country.
Footage of Mikhailovich and other captured Russian soldiers has sparked debate over whether Ukraine is abiding by the Geneva Conventions, which guarantee the safety of prisoners of war.
“Prisoners of war must at all times be protected,” according to Article 13, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.”
In a tweet, Andrew Stroehlein, a human rights activist and Human Rights Watch’s European media director, noted that humiliating or making POWs a topic of public curiosity or derision is expressly prohibited by the laws of war.