Politics - News Analysis

Captured Russian Commander Begs for Forgiveness and Says Soldiers are ‘Embarrassed’ by War

Sounds about right for Putin.

Lieutenant Colonel Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich, who was captured by Ukrainian forces along with two other Russian soldiers, is shown in a viral video admitting that Vladimir Putin had lied to his troops in his reasoning for invading Ukraine.

In the video, Mikhailovich speaks to reporters, saying that he feels “shame” over his part in the attack and pleading for leniency for his fellow captured Russian soldiers. He later goes on to say that there is no way that Russia can win in this situation anyway, according to the New York Post.

The commander said that military leaders in Russia had told soldiers that nationalists and Nazis had seized power “at the top levels of government” in Ukraine. As most effective lies do, this had a grain of truth in it; one of the largest sites for mass exterminations during WWII was in Ukraine, and it is true that neo-Nazis are embraced in many parts of the country.

But for Putin to claim that he is concerned for the welfare of Ukrainians while dropping bombs of large population centers — and after having made it clear during the Crimean invasion a few years ago that he felt Ukraine was Russian territory — is absolutely absurd. And when you consider that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is himself a Jew, it makes Putin’s explanation downright ridiculous.

The sad part is, soldiers like Mikhailovich have no way of knowing whether what they were doing was right until they are on the ground. The Russian propaganda machine is nearly as effective as our own CIA in spreading disinformation.

Nevertheless, Mikhailovich was contrite:

I feel shame that we came to this country. I don’t know why we were doing it. We knew very little. We brought sorrow to this land.

You are in a tense situation, going against your own commander. But this is genocide. Russia cannot win here anyway. Even if we go until the very end. We can invade the territory but we cannot invade the people.

If only soldiers could figure that out about every war.

Andrew Simpson
meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Southwestern Arizona, writing with the conviction of 17 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon β€” duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A wife, three kids, and a grandson round out the story, and in his spare time, Andrew loves to think about how nice it would be to have spare time.

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