Home » Ukrainian soldiers swim across Dnieper River to surrender to Russia (VIDEO) — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Ukrainian soldiers swim across Dnieper River to surrender to Russia (VIDEO) — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

by Marko Florentino
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Four servicemen have used makeshift rafts to traverse the river and reach Russian positions, RIA Novosti has reported

A group of Ukrainian soldiers have braved the waters of the Dnieper River in a bid to surrender to Russia, RIA Novosti reported on Sunday, citing security sources and sharing a video.

Black-and-white footage apparently taken from a drone at night shows the four men swimming to the opposite side of the river. The clip then shows them coming out of the water with their hands behind their heads as Russian soldiers are already waiting for them on shore.

According to RIA, the Ukrainians used makeshift rafts made of empty plastic bottles to cross the Dnieper. The sources told the news agency that the four soldiers surrendered in the Kherson Region. The former Ukrainian territory officially joined Russia in autumn 2022 following a referendum, along with neighboring Zaporozhye Region and the two Donbass Republics.

Kherson Region is still only partially controlled by Russia as its territories on the right bank of the Dnieper, including the city of Kherson, remain under Ukrainian control and the river separates the warring parties’ positions. It is unclear where exactly the soldiers crossed the river, but the Dnieper in that area is at least several hundred meters wide.

The four soldiers had previously contacted the Russian military via a special Telegram chat bot and stated their desire to lay down arms, RIA reported, adding that they were able to discuss the details of their surrender with the Russian side in advance.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a total of 32 Ukrainian servicemen surrendered in just one week, between June 29 and July 5. It did not comment on the river crossing case, though. Yan Gagin, an aide to the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, also told the Russian media that Ukrainian soldiers have been surrendering in droves recently.

It is not the first time that Ukrainian soldiers have crossed the Dnieper in a bid to surrender to Russia. In early June, another serviceman also used a makeshift raft fashioned of plastic bottles to traverse the river and lay down arms. The man explained that he’d chosen to capitulate because the Ukrainian command had planned to deploy his brigade to the northeastern Kharkov Region, where Russian forces have been on the offensive since early May, RIA reported at that time.

The news comes as Kiev is struggling to replenish heavy losses sustained in the fighting with Russia. Announced by Ukraine shortly after the start of the conflict, the major mobilization campaign has been marred by widespread draft dodging and graft, as well as attempts to flee the country.

This spring, Kiev significantly expanded conscription rules and lowered the age limit from 27 to 25. In June, a senior Ukrainian Border Service official, Igor Matviychuk, said that over 100 attempt to flee the country every day in order to evade service.

The draft dodgers often brave perilous conditions in their attempts to escape. Ukraine’s Border Service said in June that more than 45 Ukrainian men had died in rough terrain while fleeing the country, adding that a significant portion of them drowned while seeking to cross the Tisza River, which flows through southwestern Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia. Ten people were confirmed to have drowned in the river in May alone.

Kiev’s forces also continue to suffer heavy losses on the front lines, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The Ukrainian military recently lost some 13,500 servicemen in just one week, it said in a report on Friday.

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