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Zelensky urges Russian troops to refuse to fight

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.

“They don’t tell them, for example, that the Russian army is preparing additional refrigerated trucks to store the bodies. They don’t tell them about the new losses that the generals expect,” said the Ukrainian president.

“Each Russian soldier can still save his own life. It is better to survive in Russia than to die in our land,” Zelensky said.

According to information released on Saturday by UK intelligence, Russia continues to have problems with tactical coordination in Ukraine and its air support is inconsistent.

Russia hopes to rectify problems that have limited the invasion by geographically concentrating combat power, shortening supply lines and simplifying command and control, added in a report provided by the British Ministry of Defence.

Russia has been forced to merge units that have failed to make progress in northwest Ukraine, the report adds, noting that many of these units may be morally debilitated.

Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine on February 24 that has killed about 3,000 civilians, according to the UN, which warns that the real number is likely to be much higher.

The military offensive caused the flight of more than 12 million people, of which more than 5.4 million were out of the country, according to the latest UN data.

The Russian invasion was condemned by the international community in general, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and reinforcing economic and political sanctions on Moscow.

FOLLOW ALL ABOUT THE WAR IN UKRAINE HERE

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