About 700 contract soldiers from Russia’s 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade, a unit linked to committing war crimes in Kyiv Oblast, are trying but failing to be discharged and get out of Ukraine, writes the Russian publication Vazhnye Istorii.
The outlet said servicemen from the 64th brigade claim their commanders refuse to send back from Ukraine even those soldiers whose contracts with the army expired in May.
Instead, they are trying to retain the servicemen by promising to increase the combat pay from RUR 90,000 ($1,500) to RUR 120,000 ($2,000) per month.
“I submitted several refusals (to fight),” said one of the soldiers told the Russian publication, who is currently in Kherson Oblast.
“They just tell us to f**k off — and that's it.”
That's why some contractees run away and travel to the unit at their own expense to hand in a resignation letter there, he said.
"I constantly see refusniks going (to the command post),” the serviceman told Vazhnye Istorii.
“They are also dismissed and are not allowed to get discharged, as if it were impossible, they are told to ‘go on and serve’. Because of this, people are running away and traveling to the unit (headquarters) at their own expense to resign there. An acquaintance of mine left like this; he was told in the personnel department that 700 people had already arrived and were trying to get discharged," the soldier said.
Another soldier from the occupying army also complains that he himself cannot leave Ukraine: "Unreal, there are roadblocks everywhere,” he said.
“The refuseniks who had left had their reports signed by the deputy commander, but our commander refuses to sign them. The command simply does not give a **** about all servicemen."
The service members, talking to journalists, also confirmed their involvement in the killings of civilians — they claim to have been carrying out the orders of Brigadier General Azatbek Omurbekov.
According to one of the interlocutors, the Russian military was ordered to shoot three to four cars with civilians. Omurbekov also ordered them to kill "everyone you find with phones."
In addition, Russian commanders in Andriyivka, Kyiv Oblast, not only gave orders to kill civilians, but also actively looted local houses. Vyacheslav Klobukov, a deputy brigade commander in charge of logistics, stole china "so that the command would eat from decent crockery." Not to mention the refrigerators, laptops, and even tables and chairs, stolen from locals.
Besides, the command of the brigade reported to the top management distorted information about the successes at the front line.
"Omurbekov asked to report that not one tank was destroyed, but three; no, five," says the interlocutor of the publication.
Also, during the shelling, commanders forced soldiers to pose for photo reports with combat vehicles in the background.
It is worth noting that the commander of the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, Azatbek Omurbekov, who has been linked to the atrocities in Bucha, received a promotion after that, and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin gave the brigade the honorary title of "Guards".
Bucha massacre: What is known about Russian atrocities in Kyiv Oblast
After the Russian invaders fled Kyiv Oblast, horrifying atrocities were uncovered, with hundreds of civilians falling victim to mass execution. Bodies of citizens tortured and killed by Russians have been found in Bucha, Irpin, and near the Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway.
According to the latest data, 1,348 bodies of civilians killed at the hands of Russian troops were discovered in Kyiv Oblast after its liberation. Of these, 458 bodies were found in Bucha. Ninety percent of the civilians who died during the occupation of the city by the Russian invasion force were shot.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has stated that the killings committed by the Russian occupiers in Bucha were deliberate.
Western leaders have strongly condemned the Russian army's suspected war crimes and called for international investigations and prosecutions.
At the same time, Russia has rejected accusations that the Russian military committed crimes in Bucha. The Kremlin spreads the propaganda narrative that all the photos and videos from Bucha and other towns on the outskirts of Kyiv were allegedly staged, and the bodies were "specially laid out" on the streets of the cities to create a "picture" for the media.
This absurd version of events, which has been disproved by investigations by independent journalists, is still supported by Russian officials even at the highest level.