In a video released on Saturday evening, President Zelensky appealed to the Russians fighting on the frontline to lay down their arms and surrender to Ukraine.
He said that Ukraine guarantees that all Russian soldiers who cede their weapons will be handled with respect and in line with international conventions.
“No one will know of the circumstances of your surrender. Nobody in Russia will find out if you did it voluntarily,” Zelensky added.
The Ukrainian head of state also ensured that those who would be afraid to return to Russia wouldn’t be forced to take part in a prisoner swap.
He also called on young Russians to ignore the mobilisation, stressing that “it’s better than dying as a criminal.”
Moscow’s recent partial troop call-up has sparked a bitter backlash across the country, further undermining the already-low morale of the Russian rank and file.