The Russian army was beset by persistent reports of low morale in the ranks, after suffering massive casualties. According to the Ukrainian army, more than 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in action since hostilities began on February 24. Countless Russian soldiers are said to have deserted their units in a desperate attempt to flee the slaughter on the front lines.
Describing the desperate situation facing his commanders, Major Gruzev recounted how soldiers and officers refused to fight and fled their positions.
The officer serves in a military unit in Abkhazia and was taken prisoner near Kherson.
In a video released by the Ukrainian military, Major Gruzev said, “Nobody wants to be here. Everyone wants to go home.
“All the soldiers of the first and second battalions fled.
“Nobody left. They refused to fight.”
Abkhazia is a breakaway region of Georgia, which Russia recognized as an independent state after the Georgian War in 2008.
The major then appealed to the Russians to help end the war.
He said: “I ask Russian citizens to help people like me to return home.
“I ask them to ask Putin to bring Russian soldiers back from Ukraine as soon as possible.”
Kyiv appears to be stepping up preparations to launch a substantial counter-offensive in the Kherson region.
Reclaiming the strategic city of Kherson would be a major coup for Ukrainian commanders.
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Aleksey Gromov, deputy chief of military operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, claimed that Chechen National Guard units had been sent to the Kherson region.
He said they were specifically sent to prevent Russian soldiers from fleeing during the battle.
Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the occupation administration in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, signed a decree on Monday paving the way for a referendum on joining Russia.
At a rally in Melitoptol, he said: “I sign the order for the Central Election Committee to start preparations for a referendum on the reunification of the Zaporizhzhia region with the Russian Federation.”
About two-thirds of Zaporizhzhia is under Russian occupation, part of a part of southern Ukraine that Moscow captured at the start of the war.