Russian soldiers now begging Ukrainians for food as villagers hounded ‘Please help us’

Ukraine: John Sweeny says Russian troops are begging for food

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On Twitter, reporter John Sweeney said Russian troops were around 15km from his position in Kyiv. He corrected his previous report that Putin’s army was moving backwards and said they were, in fact, stalled. But Mr Sweeney said he has been speaking to locals and learned desperate Russian troops have been begging Ukrainians for food.

Mr Sweeney discussed the conflict in his online video diary, describing the situation on the ground.

He said: “The Russian army is about 15 kilometres this way, occasionally there’s a crump of artillery we can hear.

“I was wrong to say yesterday the Russian army is going back.

“That’s not true, they’re not going back but they’re not going forward.

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“I’ve spoken to a taxi driver who said the village is saying the Russian soldiers are coming up to them and saying, have you got any food?

“And the other thing that’s happening at the same was they’re not aggressive… it’s their commanders pushing them to be nasty.

“But the individual Russian soldiers are kind of, please can help us and give you some food.

“So, Vladimir Putin’s got a problem, that he’s launched this invasion but his soldiers are hungry and they don’t want to fight.”

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President Zelensky has also claimed Russian prisoners of war do not want to return back to the country.

He said in a statement: “Among them, there are those who refuse to return to Russia.

“There are many who are not even talked about in Russia, who are not being taken back.

“Families of some soldiers have received death notices, although they are in captivity and alive.”

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Between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, according to US estimates.

There have been reports that Russia has begun recruiting foreign mercenaries to support its invasion.

Mr Zelensky said: “We’ve got information that the Russian military is recruiting mercenaries from other countries and trying to deceive as many young people as possible into military service.”

Footage has also been released by Ukrainian forces showing Russian armour being obliterated by Ukrainian anti-tank weaponry.

Mauripol continues to face heavy shelling but drone footage has shown several lone Russian tanks being swiftly taken care of by the defenders.

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