Russian forces are killing their own wounded with drones to stop them from surrendering, Ukrainian officials say

  • Russia is using drones to kill its own soldiers to stop them from surrendering, Ukraine says.

  • A military spokesman said there have been "cases when Russian drones have killed their own wounded."

  • Russia has previously been accused of using deadly force against troops retreating or surrendering.

Russian forces are killing their own injured soldiers to stop them from surrendering to Ukrainian troops, officials in Ukraine's defense forces and military intelligence service said.

"The fact is that the Russians do not allow their soldiers to surrender," Oleksandr Stupun, a spokesman for Ukraine's Tauride Defense Forces, said during a television interview on Monday.

"There have even been cases when Russian drones have killed their own wounded," he said, according to the Kyiv Post.

Andriy Yusov, a representative for Ukraine's military intelligence agency, the HUR, told the Kyiv Post that incidents of this kind have been recorded multiple times, including in footage captured by Ukraine's own drones.

Russia has killed its own soldiers as "a reaction to the fact that there are quite a few people willing to surrender to Ukrainian captivity," he said.

Russia has been accused of using deadly threats and tactics to stop its troops from retreating or surrendering since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

A Ukrainian unit said in September that Russian troops who were surrendering were shot at and killed by their own artillery, an incident they filmed with a drone.

Western intelligence and Russian soldiers say Russia is also using barrier units: troops that stand behind other soldiers to stop them from withdrawing, including by threatening to shoot them.

The UK Ministry of Defence said last year that Russia had started using barrier troops and that Russian generals likely wanted their soldiers to defend positions in Ukraine "to the death."

A group of Russian soldiers said earlier this year that one of the units was placed behind them and threatened to shoot them if they did not move forward.

Yusov, from Ukraine's military intelligence, also said this was happening. "Barrier units and killing their own soldiers is what the Russian army is really using against its own," he said.

Ukraine has reported many incidents of Russian soldiers surrendering to it over the course of the invasion, including soldiers who surrendered to Ukrainian drones.

Ukraine has also set up a hotline that Russian soldiers can call if they want to surrender. Ukraine said Russian soldiers are calling it and are also offering to give equipment and heavy armored vehicles to Ukraine.

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