Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Friday called on Russian troops to lay down their arms, promising them “life and safety.”
“You can still save Russia from tragedy and the Russian army from humiliation,” Reznikov said in Russian in a video addressed to Russian troops.
“We guarantee life, safety and justice for all who refuse to fight immediately. And we will ensure a tribunal for those who gave criminal orders,” he promised.
“You have been deceived and betrayed” by the Kremlin, Reznikov said.
“It’s easier for them to tell you that you died heroically in battle against imaginary NATO hordes. It is true that NATO countries are supplying us with weapons. But it is Ukrainian soldiers who are beating you with these weapons,” Reznikov said.
Reznikov said that “Ukrainian soldiers do not need Russian lands, we have enough of our own. And we are taking them all back.”
Ukrainian troops have been leading counter-offensives in the south and the east of the country in the past few weeks, clawing back large swathes of territory.
The proclaimed wins in the southern region of Kherson are the latest in a series of Russian defeats undermining the Kremlin’s claim to have annexed around 20% of Ukraine.
“Since the beginning of October, more than (500 square kilometres) have been liberated from Russian occupiers in the Kherson region alone,” President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late Thursday in his nightly address.
The recaptured territory was home to dozens of towns and villages that had been occupied by Russian forces for months, southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said.