“I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we’ll rise against him.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin “has given orders to commit crimes. It’s not just to demilitarize Ukraine or defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but now cities of peaceful civilians are being destroyed.”
“The crimes that we committed; we all will be judged.”
These are the voices of Russian prisoners of war now held by Ukraine.
Nearly a dozen have appeared in news conferences held by the Ukrainian authorities, just a few of the 600 that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says have been captured.
Their public appearances may be questionable under the Geneva Conventions, which forbid states from causing unnecessary humiliation to prisoners of war. And it is possible that they felt pressure to express views sympathetic to those of their captors.
But three captured Russian air force pilots who spoke to CNN did not suggest they were speaking under duress.
CNN requested access to speak with the prisoners with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. That request was made prior to a press conference that took place in Kyiv on Friday. CNN spoke with the three men immediately after that press conference.
CNN were the only journalists in the room and at no time did Ukrainian Security Services, who were in the room throughout, interject or direct CNN or the prisoners to ask or answer specific questions. The interview was conducted in Russian. [Continue reading…]