He knew it was treason, but he returned to the Russian army. The story of the soldier who gave the resignation letter – Observer

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“The order has changed. Draw the letter Z as in Zorro.” By the time M heard those words, he and his regiment comrades had already spent many hours at night drawing white lines on armored vehicles. But the order has changed. The tanks were washed and repainted. This happened on February 24, the same day that Russia invaded Ukraine, before reaching Crimea. The Russian soldier knows nothing: External contacts are simply non-existent. His story is told anonymously CNN.

Before the war began, Ms. He is also one of the many Russian soldiers who have been flocking to what he thought was a winter training session near the Ukrainian border. The war is coming, and the West is shouting that President Vladimir Putin is going to order an invasion of Ukraine, but he says he has not thought much about it. On February 22, he and all the men in his battalion were not required to hand over their cell phones. At the time, they were parked in Krasnodar in southern Russia – just 400 kilometers from the Crimean peninsula, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Putin in 2014.

Only then, without any contact in his pocket, did M. and his comrades paint Z on the back of the war vehicles. The next day we were taken to the Crimea. Truth be told, I thought we were not going to Ukraine. I never thought it would get to this point, ”he told CNN. When the troops assembled in the Crimea, a “special military operation” began in Moscow. But M. does not know. None of his colleagues knew. The soldier says the news was never told and they had no idea what was going on without the cell phone.

Two days later, the order came: they are going to Ukraine. “Some have refused. They went on to write the report. They have no idea what happened. I stayed. I do not know why. “The next day they went and entered the neighboring country. M. guarantees that he does not know the intentions of the work. He did not listen to the Russian president and did not know that Ukraine should be destroyed. According to Putin’s television logic, the country has historically been part of Russia. “We have not been cleared of any rhetoric about the Ukrainian Nazis. Many of us do not understand why this is and what we should do.

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Admitting he did not know much about politics, MN told CNN that he hoped there would be a diplomatic solution to the conflict. I felt guilty and ashamed for invading another country. “We were dirty and tired. The people around us were dying. I did not want to feel a part of it, but I was a part of it.

It took him a while to figure out what was going on around him and make a decision. He had to give up the war, resign and return home.

From the first kilometer, after crossing the border, the picture is reminiscent of Russian dry ration boxes scattered everywhere and piles of destroyed equipment. And Ukrainians. “Usually, when we saw the residents, we were nervous. Some people hide their guns under their clothes and shoot at close range.

One of those moments happened when they went to the city of Kherson, which is now occupied by the Russians. M. He was sitting in a Kamas truck armed with two grenades. Near a village, a man, armed with a whip, began to attack the military column. “You’re disappointed!” He shouted at them. “He almost climbed into the room where we were. Her tears welled up in her eyes and it had a strong impact on me.

In those moments, when he was crossing paths with the Ukrainians, he covered his face for protection, but he was ashamed of occupying those lands. “The first week I was in shock. I was not thinking of anything, ” he said. “I go to bed and think: Today is March 1. I will wake up tomorrow, March 2 – The main thing is to live another day.

Weeks went by, and the regiment approached a radio station where they received news of Russia and the war. Realizing that his country’s economy was in decline, Ms. “I felt guilty. Even more guilty is that we are in Ukraine.

It was at this point that his decision began to take shape. Despite knowing that he would be subjected to a treason trial, he told the Commander. The letter was rejected and he was reminded of it when the commander told him that it was not possible not to serve. “He told me there might be a criminal case. That denial was treason. But I endured.” The officer gave him a sheet of paper and a pen and the resignation letter was written on the spot. M. Was able to return to Russia. The future? “I don’t know, but I’m glad I came home.” You know, being alive is “a miracle”.

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