A new video from Russia captures a child’s heartbreaking plea as their father is drafted to fight in Ukraine.
The video, posted by BBC reporter Will Vernon, shows a line of young men walking through a crowd up to a large red coach bus to join the Russian military.
As the men shuffle towards the bus under the watchful eye of three Russian policemen, a child can be heard crying in the background.
“Daddy, goodbye, please come back!” the child weeps, according to Vernon’s translation. The kid is not visible in the clip.
Vernon did not disclose the location of the video, but said he spoke to locals who confirmed the veracity of the footage.
Similar footage trickled in from the far reaches of Russia.
Video from the Siberian region of Yakutsk showed couples embracing in emotional goodbyes as men were loaded onto a bus bound for war.
Another video circulating on social media showed a crowd around a similarly painted bus, with a destination sign reading “Makhachkala,” a city in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.
Putin’s mobilization order was devoid of details Wednesday — to such an extent that the Russian defense ministry set up a call-line to field questions.
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“No one told me anything in the morning. They gave me the draft notice that I should come here at 3 p.m. We waited 1.5 hours, then the enlistment officer came and said that we are leaving now,” a 25-year-old Moscow resident named Dmitry told Russian outlet Ostorozhno Novosti. “I was like, ‘Oh great!’ I went outside and started calling my parents, brother, all friends of mine to tell that they take me.”
Dmitry’s father — who came to see him off — gave his son a hug.
“Be careful,” he said.
The mobilizations come as Russia finds itself reeling from a successful Ukrainian counterattack earlier this month that cut supply lines and pushed the occupying troops out of most of the Kharkiv province and portions of the eastern Donbas region.
Russia’s new conscripts will be walking into a war that the Kremlin appears to be losing, joining an army with plunging morale.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky switched over to Russian during his nightly address on Wednesday, and addressed Russia’s people directly.
“You are already accomplices in all these crimes, murders and torture of Ukrainians,” Zelensky said, adding they were being “thrown to their deaths.”
Russians had four options to save themselves, he continued: “protest, fight back, run away or surrender to Ukrainian captivity.”
For those wishing to flee, Europe had words of encouragement.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Thursday that any Russian who “courageously opposes Putin’s regime and therefore puts himself in the greatest danger” can apply for asylum in Germany.
With Post wires