Russian wives are “on a mission” to rescue their husbands, some of whom have reportedly been abandoned by their commanders while injured. One woman said members of her husband’s unit had been told they were not allowed to retreat, and were even threatened with execution.
A group of Russian wives earlier this week posted a video online declaring that they would cross the border to Ukraine and look for their husbands.
They said the Russian military had, before this stage, rejected their pleas for help – that this was their last resort.
Describing the situation, one wife, Svetalana Gorbatenko, quoted in the Telegraph, said: “Our guys are being thrown into the fight like blind kittens into a fire.
“They’re not allowed to retreat, they’re threatened with execution and will be listed as missing because formally [they] are not part of any military unit.”
The women shared their video from a military base in Valuiki, less than 10 miles from the Ukrainian border.
Mrs Gorbatenko explained that “I’m pregnant with my third child, and I can’t get my husband back”.
She added that her husband had been sent to Ukraine after being mobilised “with no training, supplies or command”.
Putin ordered the “partial” mobilisation of 300,000 troops in Ukraine in September amid reports of Russian efforts stalling in key regions.
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Mrs Gorbatenko also said: “We’re going to go there ourselves.
“If something happens to us, you can thank your bosses who promised to get them back here.”
Commenting on reports of Russian women entering Ukraine to find their husbands, Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder said “this is what Putin should fear at home: Russian wives on a mission to save injured soldier husbands who were abandoned by the Russian military”.
Russia today finished withdrawing from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s Kherson region.
Ukrainian officials later urged Russian soldiers still in the city to surrender.
Kyiv said: “Your command left you to the mercy of fate. Your commanders urge you to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously, you won’t be able to.”