In a video address to the Russian military posted on October 7, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called on Russian officers and commanders to “save Russia from tragedy and the Russian army from destruction.”
Reznikov said that the Russian authorities “deceived and betrayed” the soldiers now dying in Ukraine. “They promised you it would be a walk in the part — and sent you into a trap. You’re paying with your blood for someone’s fantasies and false targets. Now they’re not listening to you, because listening to you right now would be admitting their mistakes. And in Moscow, they don’t like the truth. It’s easier for them to say that you’re dying heroic deaths in a battle against imaginary NATO hordes,” said Reznikov.
The minister also called out Vladimir Putin for “hiding in a bunker” while Volodymyr Zelensky regularly visits troops on the frontline.
“You know that you’re not liberating anybody in Ukraine. You’re destroying whole cities, where, until recently, people considered you kind neighbors and spoke Russian. And now animosity has been sown that will last a generation. Many of you have already realized — it’s not a just cause you’re dying for,” Reznikov added.
He went on to tell the soldiers to think about how they’ll “go down in history” after the war, saying they’re on track to be remembered as “thieves, rapists, and murderers.”
“I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. Thousands of Russian guys will die. Even more will lose arms and legs. But [then] they’ll be shamed. And you’ll be blamed. And betrayed once again. As they’ve betrayed you multiple times before,” said the minister.
In addition, he told the Russian troops, they’ll be the ones who will have to “look into the eyes of the people left widowed, orphaned, and crippled by your soldiers,” because “nobody from the Kremlin will face them.”
Reznikov concluded by saying that Ukraine guarantees life, safety, and justice to all Russian soldiers who immediately refuse to fight. “You can still save Russia from tragedy and the Russian army from destruction. But time is passing. Don’t miss your chance,” he said.