'Is he in Ukraine?!' Russian mother bursts into tears as she learns son sent to front

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Journalist Volodymyr Zolkin spoke to the mother of the 21-year-old prisoner of war in Ukraine. Private Turov Vyacheslav Igorevich was part of President Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 soldiers aimed at repelling a counter-offensive in Russian-occupied Ukraine. But the woman appeared to be surprised to learn of her son’s presence in Ukraine, claiming she had been told he would not be sent to the country.

Mr Zolking began his conversation with the private’s mother saying: “When will Russia understand that they should not be coming to Ukraine?

“Your son came here to kill our people. So I asked you this question, thought you might know.”

She asked: “What do you mean? Is he in Ukraine? But we talked to him! Is he really in Ukraine?

“We were told they wouldn’t be sent to Ukraine.”

Mr Zolkin continued: “Your son is in captivity.”

READ MORE: Ukraine annexation vote fuels intense fighting

The mother added: “No one told us he would be sent to Ukraine. We were told they would not be sent there at all. If we knew that he was in captivity, we would have spoken to you differently.”

Ukrainians who help Russian-backed referendums to annex large swathes of the country will face treason charges and at least five years in jail, Ukraine’s presidential adviser said, as voting in four regions entered its last day.

“We have lists of names of people who have been involved in some way,” presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick.

“We are talking about hundreds of collaborators. They will be prosecuted for treason. They face prison sentences of at least five years.”

Podolyak said Ukrainians who were forced to vote would not be punished. Ukrainians officials have reported ballot boxes being taken door to door and residents being coerced into voting in front of Russian-backed security.

Moscow hopes to annex the provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhia, in the east and south, which make up about 15 percent of Ukraine.

None of the provinces are fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been underway along the entire front line, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which would include the four provinces if annexed.

Voting on whether to join Russia began on Friday in the regions and is due to end on Tuesday, with the Russian parliament possibly approving the annexation within days.

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The British Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that Putin is likely to announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on September 30.

Kyiv and the West have dismissed the referendums as a sham and pledged not to recognise the results.

Ukrainian and Russian forces were locked in heavy fighting in different parts of Ukraine on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Donetsk region in the east remained his country’s and Russia’s top strategic priority, with fighting engulfing several towns as Russian troops try to advance to the south and west.



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