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438 Ukrainian Soldiers Cross into Russia, Says Russian Official — Are They Defecting, Deserting or Retreating?

A Russian border security official said Monday that more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers have crossed into Russia, although both sides gave conflicting accounts as to why they did it.


Screen capture from YouTube video.
Screen capture from YouTube video.

By LAURA MILLS
A Russian border security official said Monday that more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers have crossed into Russia, although both sides gave conflicting accounts as to why they did it.

The Russian official said the soldiers deserted the Kyiv government and the Russian side opened a safe corridor. A Ukrainian military official, who did not give a number for the soldiers involved, were forced into Russian territory by rebel fire after running out of ammunition.

[...]

Vasily Malayev, head of the Federal Security Service’s border patrol in the Rostov region, said that 438 Ukrainian soldiers had crossed into Russian territory on Monday. He said the Russian side had allowed the soldiers to safely enter the country overnight.

Malayev later said that 180 of them requested to return to Ukraine and were being sent there in buses. He said the move was not an exchange, but did not give further details.

Russia’s Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The Ukrainian military confirmed that part of a brigade had most likely crossed into Russian territory, although it disputed Russia’s version of events and wouldn’t say how many soldiers went over.

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