“May I drop to my knees?” Russian troops call for surrender to Ukrainian helpline


[시드니=뉴스핌] Reporter Kwon Ji-eon = About 6,500 Russian soldiers over the past four months are known to have called the surrender hotline operated by Ukraine to surrender.

Last weekend, according to the British Guardian, a total of 6,543 Russian soldiers tried to surrender through the helpline called ‘I Want To Live’, which was established by the Ukrainian government in September last year.

Reuters reported that drone footage taken on the 22nd identified people who appeared to be seeking refuge as Russian soldiers. [사진=로이터 뉴스핌] 2023.01.30 kwonjiun@newspim.com

POW spokesman Vitaly Matviyenko said, “Based on serial numbers and personal information, we have confirmed that those who contacted the Ukrainian government were from the Russian military.”

Under a prisoner exchange program concluded between the Russian and Ukrainian governments, surrendered soldiers are exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia or given the opportunity to remain in Ukrainian custody.

A spokesman for Matviyenko said that 1,646 Ukrainians had been released by the Russian government through a prisoner exchange.

He said the operation of the helpline was “absolutely successful”, with 50 to 100 calls and messages pouring in every day.

He added that the call center in charge of the hotline, which was operated at the State Department office in the Kiiu capital, was moved to a secret location a month ago in case of a Russian attack.

In a phone call released by the Guardian, a Russian soldier who expressed his intention to surrender asked, “Should I kneel when a Ukrainian soldier comes? How can I surrender?”

Oksana, a call center manager, said she felt the Russians’ will to fight was gradually weakening as they received calls asking them to surrender. “They are afraid and they don’t know what to do.”


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