What happens to Russian soldiers who refuse to fight Ukraine? There are seldom answers to this question. In an interview, the father of a soldier tells what happened to him when he refused to kill Ukrainians.
“We have relatives there”, with these words father Sergei tried to prevent his son Stas, until then an officer in the Russian military, from traveling to Ukraine. “Just refuse,” he told him, as the father now revealed in an interview with the British “BBC”. The names of father and son have been changed to protect them.
Despite his father’s warnings and pleas, Stas eventually left for Ukraine. But as Sergei reports, it wasn’t long before he asked his father for advice. He wanted to know what would happen if he refused to fight. He told his father about an incident in which troops were encouraged to advance without being offered any support, preparation or plan. Nobody knew what lay ahead of them.
“This is not our war. It’s not a war of liberation,” Sergei told his son and advised him not to fight. This time Stas followed his father’s advice – and was placed under armed surveillance along with other conscientious objectors. Their weapons were taken from them.
His father, meanwhile, put pressure on the military and authorities in Russia to bring his son back home – with success. But it wasn’t until he got back home that Stas told him what had really happened. How a “different kind” of Russian soldiers tried to force him to fight.
“They beat him and then took him outside as if they were about to shoot him,” says Sergei. They would have made him lie on the floor and count to ten. When Stas refused, the soldiers are said to have hit his head with weapons: “His face was covered with blood,” the father quoted his son’s descriptions in the BBC interview.
The rebellious soldier was then brought into a room and threatened: “You come with us, otherwise we will kill you.” He was finally saved by a comrade who announced that he would let Stas work in the camp.
At home, Stas told his father that he never thought his own country would treat him like this. Sergei concludes: “People here do not understand the great danger we are in. Not from the enemy side. But from our own.”
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