Boredom and psychological torture. A Russian soldier described his stay in Ukrainian captivity

He did not serve in the army for half a year when a Russian soldier, nicknamed Anton for his identity, was captured by Ukrainian troops. Now, for the British server The Guardian, he described how he had spent weeks in captivity. The diary warns that he is unable to verify the details of the story.

Anton is a 21-year-old soldier from a small town in Siberia. He joined the Russian army in December last year, shortly after graduating from a vocational school. However, over time, he states that he should have “done everything” to avoid the army.

“The boys couldn’t imagine war”

His military career began in the Russian-annexed Crimea, where he moved in the last days of 2021. Here he learned that he would take part in a “weekly training”. At that time, none had graduated.

It describes how, over time, other soldiers became suspicious of possible involvement in the war. “Many of those young boys couldn’t even imagine going to war. They told us at the last minute, the night before the invasion, “he claims.

He left for Ukraine on the second day of the invasion (February 25). With other soldiers, a combat vehicle first took him to the suburbs of southern Ukraine, Mykolaiv, which the Russians were shelling intensively. Subsequently, his unit advanced on foot.

Less than a week after being sent to a neighboring country, he and other soldiers were captured by the Ukrainians. He was given a sack over his head and taken to a prison he still doesn’t know exactly where he was.

“It was our first confrontation with the enemy, and we didn’t even fire. They attacked us and we couldn’t defend ourselves. We had to give up, “he says. He was shot in the arm by the Ukrainians during the clash.

From the beginning, Anton mainly describes fear. “You shudder at the smallest sounds. Every day you hope that it is not your last and that they will not kill you, “he says. According to him, the Ukrainians did not physically torture or torture him, although a few of them pretended to “want to hurt” them, but they practiced psychological torture. “They kept telling us that Russia was over, that we were at the bottom of society. They threatened to starve us, “he says.

When he returns, he has nightmares

However, over time, he describes boredom as the biggest challenge. “If we were lucky, they gave us something random to read. Sometimes they let us watch Ukrainian propaganda on TV… Most days we just watched the wall in front of us, “he says.

He learned about a possible exchange back to his homeland in early April. This eventually took place near Melitopol in the Zaporozhye region. Another 17 soldiers returned to Russia with him. Upon his return, however, he was interrogated by Russian soldiers. “They wanted to know if they could still trust me. That was the standard procedure, “he claims.

As compensation for his injuries, he received over 50,000 crowns. He should return to the army after healing his injured hand. But Anton hopes that will not happen. “I just want to go home, that’s all. I want one thing, and that is to go home, “he says.

He adds that the burden of the situation fell on him only after he was released from the Russian hospital when he returned. “At the time of my capture, I blocked my emotions. I tried not to think about my life… But now I have nightmares, I almost don’t sleep. I gained a lot, “he adds.

Russia has reported its own losses only sporadically since the invasion began on February 24. Moscow last reported that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded. According to Kiev, Russia has almost ten times more losses than it admits. According to the Ukrainian Truth server, the Russian army has lost more than 29,000 men and more than a thousand more have been captured.

For the first time since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops were also visited by President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow hospital on Wednesday. The video from this visit subsequently began to spread on social networks. The AFP agency points out that the soldiers stood during the meeting with the president and none of them had any visible injuries.

The Kremlin has been criticized for its treatment of its troops since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. Anton also criticizes the Russian army. “It is not fair how the Russian authorities treat me. I was sent to Ukraine completely unprepared, “he adds.