Volodymyr Zelensky made the appeal in a video speech on Sunday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Addressing Russian men being drafted for the war, Ukraine’s president said: “Do not submit to criminal mobilisation. Flee. Or surrender to Ukrainian captivity at the first opportunity. I urge all our friends in the information field to spread this appeal.”
He added: “The more citizens of the Russian Federation at least try to protect their own lives, the sooner this criminal war of Russia against the people of Ukraine will end.”
‘Fight to ensure that your children are not sent to die’
Zelensky went on to say: “We see that people, in particular, in Dagestan, began to fight for their lives. We see that they are beginning to understand that this is a question of their lives…. Fight to ensure that your children are not sent to die - everyone who can be taken by this criminal Russian mobilisation. Because if you come to take the lives of our children - I will tell you as a father - we will not let you go alive.”
Ukraine’s president stated that the Kremlin had announced the troop call-up “not only to prolong the suffering of people in Ukraine and to further destabilise the world, but also to physically exterminate men - representatives of indigenous peoples who live in the territories controlled so far, temporarily, by the Russian Federation.”
Putin’s partial mobilisation
Zelensky’s address came after Putin last Wednesday mobilised 300,000 reservists to assist in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend his country.
The independent Russian outlet Meduza on Friday reported that Russian authorities “plan to conscript 1.2 million people for their ‘partial mobilisation,’" citing a source close to one of Russia’s federal ministries.
Meanwhile, the call-up has got off to a chaotic start, amid protests, drafting mistakes and many men of fighting age fleeing Russia, the US broadcaster CNN reported.
Monday is day 215 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, ukrinform.net, edition.cnn.com