Zelensky urges Russian troops to refuse to fight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Russian soldiers to refuse to fight in Ukraine, saying that even Moscow’s generals expect thousands of Russian troops to die in the coming weeks.

In his usual daily speech, released on video Saturday night, Zelensky addressed Russian soldiers directly.

The Ukrainian leader said Russia was recruiting new troops, “with little motivation and little combat experience”, to reinforce units that suffered losses during the first weeks of the invasion.

After failing to capture the capital Kiev, the army has focused on a new offensive in eastern Ukraine to try to secure full control of the Donbass and establish a land corridor with Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.

Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian military leaders are aware that thousands of troops could die and thousands more could be injured in the coming weeks.

“Russian commanders are lying to their soldiers when they tell them they can expect to be seriously held responsible for refusing to fight,” Zelensky said.

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