Russia’s war in Ukraine is surely going poorly for President Putin. And if Ukraine gets its way it could get a lot worse: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is moving to overtake Russia from the inside out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization effort impacts 300,000 reservists — many of whom are going to great lengths to avoid being drafted. Some have even headed to the border, despite facing up to 10 years in prison for desertion.
In a video address late on Friday Ukraine time, Zelenskyy said he seeks to “sabotage” Russia’s unprovoked efforts to conquer the country.
“If you get into the Russian army, then sabotage any enemy activity, interfere with any Russian operations, give us all important information about the occupiers: their bases, headquarters, ammunition depots,” Zelenskyy said, addressing Russian conscripts.
The mobilization effort comes after Ukrainian forces reclaimed much of Kharkiv, pushing Russian troops to hide amongst locals or retreat.
Russian troops are reportedly demoralized as their numbers wane. The Pentagon estimates Russian forces have faced anywhere between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties. Many Russians have grown to condemn the war as protests — and more than 1,000 arrests — ensue across the country.
In a Saturday address, Zelenskyy urged Russian forces to surrender, guaranteeing their safety.
“It is better to surrender to Ukrainian captivity than to be killed by the strikes of our weapons, absolutely fair strikes, as Ukraine defends itself in this war. We defend the brightest — we defend our lives, our children, our freedom,” he said, according to his website.
“Russian commanders do not care about the lives of Russians — they just need to replenish the empty spaces left by the dead, wounded, those who fled or the Russian soldiers that were captured,” the Ukrainian President added.
British and US officials argue that Putin’s latest war efforts — including the mobilization effort and threatening the use of nuclear weapons — could mean his invasion is not going as planned.
Taiyler S. Mitchell is a Junior Reporter on the West Coast News Team at Insider where this first appeared. Her work has been cited by outlets like The Independent and NBCLX.