In a rare public appeal, Russian women are calling for their husbands to be returned from the war in Ukraine. The soldiers were “deceived” by the Russian government and did not know that they were going to war. Now reports of a “slaughter” in Ukraine.

To call Russia’s war against Ukraine by its name is dangerous in Russia. Only the term “special operation” is allowed, anything else can result in criminal penalties and long prison sentences. Criticism of this “special operation” is also not allowed – it is all the more astonishing that several women in the Russian republic of Buryatia have now made a video appeal to the regional administration and demanded the return of their husbands from Ukraine. This is reported by “NTV” online.

Accordingly, the women complain that the soldiers were sent to Belarus for “exercises” in January and are currently in Ukraine. “You have been part of the special operation since February 24th. They are exhausted mentally and physically.” The men have been in action for four months without interruption, some injured or sick.

“Our men are afraid of being court-martialed or fired,” one of the women said anonymously in an interview with Radio Liberty’s Siberian affiliate. “They tell us that they themselves are horrified by the protracted nature of the special operation and the carnage it has become. But you can’t stop them – they are threatened.”

One of the participants in the video appeal, Vera Partilhaeva, published the clip on social media, addressing Prime Minister Alexey Tsydenov of Buryatia: “The death of every soldier in this unjust war will weigh on your conscience! We demand that our sons and husbands return home!” The post has since been deleted.

The women refer to the soldiers of the Russian Army’s Fifth Armored Brigade, which is stationed in the Buryat capital of Ulan-Ude. BBC Russia reports at least 174 Buryats killed in Ukraine war. These are only victims confirmed by the authorities. The actual number of victims is likely to be much higher.

Some of the women criticize that the soldiers did not know that they were going to war. “My brother was on an ‘exercise’, he didn’t enlist for a war against another country,” said one of the women in the video. “In reality, he was deceived and only informed on the eve of the invasion that they were going to cross the border.” Her brother then called her and indicated that he could not flee because he had been threatened with a court-martial and physical violence.