This Video Of Russians Surrendering To Ukrainian Troops Is Intense

This increasingly common scene is likely to be repeated even more frequently as thousands of Russian conscripts deploy to Ukraine.

byEmma Helfrich|
Russians surrender to Ukrainian forces


Powerful footage of Russians surrendering to Ukrainian forces in Kherson Oblast is among the latest in a slew of photos and videos now emerging on social media documenting the counteroffensive that’s underway in the region. While the surrender was described as ‘prearranged,' Ukrainian forces took no chances in approaching their soon-to-be prisoners.

In the clips, a unit of Ukrainian soldiers can be seen positioned along a short stretch of a dirt road in the Kherson Oblast countryside. A Russian BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) then approaches the unit with a telltale white piece of fabric tied to the IFV’s turret, signaling the surrender.

A Russian soldier standing inside the IFV’s open roof hatch from the moment the vehicle arrives can also be seen waving a white flag. The Ukrainian unit then approaches the vehicle with their guns drawn and commands the Russian soldiers to exit the IFV and lie on the ground.

One Ukrainian soldier then begins searching the conceding Russians for weapons while the others observe or keep watch of the surrounding area. The footage continues with the Ukrainian soldier that's doing the searching flipping the Russian onto his back, and the men are then detained and the scene is secured. In one part of the last clip, an unmistakable weathered 'Z' marking is seen on the BMP, which was also supposedly handed over in the surrender.

Some have posited that the video is staged or is a training event of some kind, but there is no evidence to support that being the case at this time.

Russian Army BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle seen during the annual Army Games defense technology international exhibition. Credit: Photo by Leonid Faerberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

These surrenders are reportedly becoming commonplace, especially since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his mobilization decree on September 21, which effectively drafted around 300,000 reservists to fight in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. This mass conscription has led to protests, widespread fleeing, and upheaval among Russian citizens, namely from those now being forced to join the war. The fact that Russia is falling behind on all fronts with rapid losses of occupied territory almost daily has only deepened the resentment among many draftees.

Conscripts drafted as part of the mobilization order are supposed to first undergo the necessary military training before being deployed, but there have been reports that some draftees are instead being sent directly to the front with little to no guidance and without the proper equipment and supplies. All told, the way that Moscow has handled the mobilization has ostensibly set the conditions for an indignant infantry

Surrenders have reportedly become so numerous since the mobilization, in fact, that a special hotline called ‘I Want to Live’ established by the Ukrainian government has been ringing off the hook. Russian soldiers can call I Want to Live and arrange their surrender through an application process that is supported by the Geneva Convention, and an article published by The Kyiv Post revealed that even Russian soldiers who hadn’t been drafted are making these calls.

I Want to Live even offers a bounty for relinquishing intact armored vehicles, as the Russian unit did in the video. While it is unclear if the Russian soldiers in this particular clip were informed of the surrendering process with help from I Want to Live specifically, it by all accounts appears to have been expertly handled nonetheless. With massive losses on the battlefield by Russian forces, and as Ukrainian forces push deeper into Russian-held territory, they will be tasked with conducting increasingly more of these surrender operations in the coming weeks. 

The city of Kherson especially, where the video in question was reportedly filmed, has been the location of a significant breakthrough by Ukrainian forces over the past few days, achieving the liberation of numerous small villages that lead into the heart of the city. With all nearby bridges across the Dnipro river out of action, Russian forces could find themselves trapped on the northern side of the river, which could lead to massive surrenders and huge gains in commandeered equipment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other local officials have implored Russian troops to surrender with promises to treat them well in accordance with international law. Ukrainian forces are also acutely aware that anyone who surrenders is now someone they no longer have to fight and will only help lead to the collapse of Russia's already beleaguered fighting forces.

There is, however, the question of whether or not taking in these prisoners of war and managing them will become difficult for Ukrainians as the conflict goes on. Kyiv has made a lot of promises in regard to how these surrenderees will be treated under Ukrainian control, and while respectable, giving Russian soldiers housing, food, and protection could later prove to be a lot to ask of the battle-weary country, especially if there is a large-scale surrender by Russian units. But, if they can uphold the surrender process' reputation of being positive and dignified, it will only hasten Russia's defeat.

Arguably, some of these soldiers will be shown greater respect than what Russia showed them after pulling them out of their daily lives and thrusting them totally unprepared into a war the invading country is losing.

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