The Russian soldier unveiling what life is really like in Putin’s invading army – podcast | New

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A few weeks ago, the Guardian correspondent in Moscow Andre Roth received a call from a man asking to meet him urgently. He says Michael Safi how he hung up, jumped in a taxi and rushed to the meeting place. There he reunited with a former Russian army paratrooper, Pavel Filatyev, who said he was ready to tell his story about his role in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Filatyev then detailed his experiences on his VKontakte social media page and posted a 141-page bombshell: a day-to-day description of his paratrooper unit’s activities from the time it was sent to mainland Ukraine from Crimea. . Filatyev described how his unit entered Kherson and captured the seaport, how it sank under heavy artillery fire for more than a month near Mykolaiv – and how he himself was wounded and evacuated from the conflict with an eye infection.

The paratrooper describes his unit’s lack of equipment and the discontent of his fellow soldiers – but denies witnessing abuse against civilians. His account is extremely rare: by expressing himself he risks prison. He has since left Russia and is seeking asylum in the European Union, but his future is uncertain. “For me, he says, it’s a personal tragedy. Because what have we become? And how can it get worse?



Photograph: Lewis Joly/AP

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