Russia abandons its soldiers captured in Ukraine

Russian soldiers captured in eastern Ukraine say they feel abandoned by their country

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia has abandoned its fighters who were captured in eastern Ukraine while helping separatist fighting in Kiev, according to a Reuters special report released on Friday.

Russian fighter Alexander Alexandrov (28) said he feels abandoned by his country, his commanders, and even the local Russian consul, noting he was serving on a three-year contract.

Russia has repeatedly denied that there were no Russian soldiers in Ukraine, where clashes between the Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops have claimed more than 6,200 lives and caused more than 1 million people to flee their homes.  

"I never tore it up, I wrote no resignation request. I was carrying out my orders," said the captured Russian soldier Alexandrov.

Another captured Russian soldier Yevgeny Yerofeyev also expressed his disappointment about being abandoned by his country, as the Kremlin described the two soldiers as mere Russian citizens who were former soldiers before they left the army and captured by the Ukrainian forces.

Alexandrov and Yerofeyev told Reuters that the Russian consul in Kiev had seen them in a meeting which was another disappointment for the two, as they had expected to get back home in a prisoner exchange, but abandoned once again.

"I asked him a few questions. There was no answer to them. He said that when he has the answers, he will come again and let us know what they are,” said Alexandrov in a Ukraine hospital wherein he has been receiving treatment due to his leg injury in a gun battle.

Russian side, through its embassy in Kiev, gave no comment about the case of the two soldiers, but just described them as “Russian citizens detained in the Luhansk region.”

“Embassy officials plan to visit the compatriots regularly,” the statement added.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads ever since months of pro-EU demonstrations in Kiev forced former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country in February 2014.

The political crisis led the autonomous government in Crimea, which is dominated by ethnic Russians, to declare independence from Ukraine and eventually be annexed by Russia following a referendum a month later.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine caused its relations with the United States and the European Union to reach their worst since the end of the Cold War era.
The West accuses Russia of supporting the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, providing them weapons, while Russia denies the claims.

TRTWorld and agencies