IRYNA BALACHUK — THURSDAY, 31 MARCH 2022, 16:03
University students have been mobilised in the occupied territory of Donetsk region for the war against Ukraine, and taken to fight in the Kharkiv region.
Source: Nine captured soldiers at a briefing at the Ukrainian Media Centre
Details: All the captured soldiers are 19-20 years of age. The vast majority of them are residents of Makiievka and Yenakiievo (cities in the Donetsk region). They are students of Donetsk National Technical University, Academy of Management, and a Technical College.
All of them stated that they consider themselves to be “citizens of Ukraine” and claimed they did not know where they were going. They say they all thought they were going to a Russian training camp for a “young soldier training course”.
The captured soldiers said that when they were gathered and taken by train, allegedly for training, they were given only a submachine gun and a bayonet. Many of the submachine guns were rusty, and their belts still bore Soviet markings. The helmets they were given, according to the young men, were “from World War II”. One of the helmets fell from head height and split in two parts.
When students were on the train, there were 11 to 12 people in a compartment. They were allegedly given 1 dry ration per day for each group in a compartment.
According to the students, they were brought to the village of Vesele in the Kharkiv region, and it was allegedly only then that they realised where they were. They say that they allegedly felt “helpless, did not want to fight, but were afraid to speak out against their commanders.”
In the village of Vesele, they had to dig bases for checkpoints at the exit from the village and check all cars going to and from the village.
According to the students, they were fed very poorly, there was no medical care at all, and half of the 25 people were sick.
The captured men claim that none of them “ever fired a shot or looted anything.”
They also say they surrendered when they heard that Ukrainian soldiers were mounting an offensive.
The captured students also believe they will be able to return home.