Russia prisoners of war (POWs) have called out the invasion of Ukraine as an act of terror and some have reportedly vowed to ‘rise up’ against President Vladimir Putin upon returning home, Newsweek reported. 

Ukraine has organized press conferences with numerous POWs, with President Volodymyr Zelensky claiming that around 600 Russians have been captured so far. 

A reconnaissance officer who told officers his name was Vladimir, said “Our government told us we need to liberate the civilian population. I want to tell Russian servicemen: lay down your arms and leave your stations, don’t come here. Everyone wants peace here”, and added, “I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we’ll rise against him”, as per Newsweek. 

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Another Russian officer at the same conference had a message for his president saying “You won’t hide this for long. There are many like us here. Sooner or later, we’ll come home”. 

There have been some who’ve asked whether having the POWs present at the press conference was in breach of the Geneva Convention which prevents unnecessary humiliation of those captured by opposing troops. However, CNN reported on the condition of the press conference, saying “at no time did Ukrainian Security Services, who were in the room throughout, interject or direct CNN or the prisoners to ask or answer specific questions… The prisoners were not handcuffed, and while they didn’t move from their seats, seemed to be under no physical restraint”. 

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Notably, Putin’s military decisions have not gone down well with everyone. Thus far, the Russian president insisted that no conscripts had been sent to fight the war in Ukraine, but then the Russian defence ministry contradicted the president’s version of events. Reuters reported them saying, “Unfortunately, we have discovered several facts of the presence of conscripts in units taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine. Practically all such soldiers have been pulled out to Russia”.