Russians are inundating a hotline in Ukraine asking how they can best surrender, some even before they have been called up to fight, as Moscow claims wins in the 'sham elections'.
Military-aged men fled Russia in droves to avoid being shipped off to Ukraine to fight in Vladimir Putin's losing battle. Most Russian men aged 18-65 are automatically counted as reservists.
Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, said a hotline has been inundated with calls from Russians who have been recruited to fight.
The men are seeking advice on how to best surrender, Ukrainska Pravda reported.
Just days ago, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to Russian recruits to surrender and said those who surrender will be treated in line with international conventions.
He also promised to not return any people who surrender to Russia, and to ensure no one knows the circumstances of the surrender.
On the other hand, Moscow has toughened punishment for soldiers breaching their duties.
Under the new legislation, deserting a military unit during a period of mobilisation or martial law would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, compared with five years under the current law.
Soldiers who voluntarily surrender to the enemy will also face a prison term of up to 10 years, and those convicted of looting could be handed 15 years.
Russian soldiers shipped off without training
Videos shared by Mark Krutov, a journalist in Europe, shows a Russian soldier claiming new recruits are not receiving any training before being shipped off to battle.
"We were officially told that there would be no training before we will be sent to the war zone. The regiment’s commanders confirmed this," the solider says in the video, according to Krutov's translation.
The solider then adds the new recruits will be sent off to Kherson, a port city in Ukraine's south on Thursday.
"Think for yourself, decide for yourself what to do with it in the future. There was no shooting training, no theoretical training, nothing," the soldier apparently says.
Hundreds of people in Russia have been arrested following anti-war protests and speaking out against Putin's military mobilisation order.
Men who have managed to escape have spoken out against Russia's invasion.
One man who identified himself only as Yevgeny to avoid potential retribution against his family left behind in Russia said he was against this war.
"I'm against this war, and I'm not going to be a part of it. I'm not going to be a murderer. I'm not going to kill people," he said.
🧵 Here's a video of a Russian soldier who was mobilized recently. He was sent to the "1st tank regiment" (probably 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division) and says they will be sent to Kherson in 2 days without any basic training. I found his VK and reached out to him. pic.twitter.com/CRH5Ht8OOK
— Mark Krutov (@kromark) September 27, 2022
Russia claims victory in sham vote
Russian-installed officials in four occupied regions of Ukraine have reported huge majorities of votes in favour of joining Russia, as the US planned a UN resolution condemning the referendums as shams.
Vote tallies from complete results on Tuesday in the four provinces ranged from 87 per cent to 99.2 per cent in favour of joining Russia, according to Russia-appointed officials.
The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament said the chamber might consider the incorporation of the four regions into Russia on October 4.
Within the occupied territories, Russian-installed officials took ballot boxes from house to house in what Ukraine and the West said was an illegitimate, coercive exercise to create a legal pretext for Russia to annex the four regions.
"This farce in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum,"Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Tuesday.
The United States announced it would introduce a resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling on member states not to recognise any change to Ukraine and also obligate Russia to withdraw its troops.
"Russia's sham referenda, if accepted, will open a pandora's box that we cannot close," envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at a council meeting.
With Associated Press and Reuters
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