Ukraine: Mother of Russian soldier asks ‘Whose door should I knock on to get my child back?’
When Marina hadn’t heard from her grandson for more than a week, she started making calls. In his final message to her, he said he was on the Belarus-Ukraine border and would be home soon. But with no news since, she fears the worst.
“I phoned his military unit, they said he hadn’t left [Russia]. ‘I said – are you joking? He contacted me from Belarus. Do you not know where your soldiers go?’ They hung up and didn’t talk to me any more.”
Marina’s grandson Nikita was originally a conscript. Men in Russia aged 18-27 who do not have an exemption – such as studying or looking after young children – are drafted into the military for a year.
But Marina says in Nikita’s first few days of service, representatives of military units arrived in their region, hoping to get conscripts to become contracted soldiers in order to lengthen their military service and earn a salary. Contractors make up the bulk of Russia’s junior service personnel.
They “convinced him”… “[They told him] you can retire early, you will have a steady salary, you will learn how to drive.”
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