- Dramatic video footage shows a Russian soldier’s surrender to a Ukrainian drone, Ukraine said.
- A Ukrainian official told Insider that he was targeted by his own side as he ran.
- Explosions can be seen going off around the soldier as he scrambles towards captivity.
A Russian soldier seen surrendering to a Ukrainian drone in dramatic footage in Bakhmut was fired on by his own men as he made his dash to captivity, according to a Ukrainian official.
In striking drone footage that has circulated widely online, a soldier can be seen making his way through explosions and trenches across ruined ground before approaching a dugout with his hands raised.
—Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 10, 2023
Vitaliy Matvienko, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s “I Want to Live” surrender hotline, confirmed to Insider that the footage was taken by the Code 9.2 unit of Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade near Bakhmut, and said that it showed a Russian soldier surrendering to them.
The soldier, from the Pskov region in western Russia, is safe in captivity as a prisoner of war, Matvienko said.
Two edited versions of the footage have circulated online, one of which shows the explosions, and one which appears to be filmed by a second drone.
But it has also released instructions on how active duty soldiers can surrender to a drone — a phenomenon that appears to have taken place several times in this conflict.
A still from aerial footage shared by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense showing an apparent surrender in November 2022, marked up by Insider.
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense/Twitter/Insider
In this instance, Matvienko said the surrender was not pre-arranged through the hotline but took place spontaneously, with the 92nd Brigade’s drone operator recognizing that the soldier was trying to signal.
In the footage, the soldier can be seen making various signals to the drone indicating he doesn’t want to fight, Matvienko said. At one stage he makes a pleading motion, while at another, it looks like he is offering to tear the insignia from his shoulder.
The drone drops him a package containing a note which, per Matvienko, tells him to surrender and to follow it.
But the soldier points to himself and shakes his head, making a slicing motion across his neck — seemingly to say that he would be killed if he fled.
The soldier shelters by an abandoned vehicle as an explosion goes off, before continuing on his journey to captivity.
Nonetheless, he appears to opt to follow the drone, being led through a warren of trenches, past apparently dead bodies and over wreck-strewn open ground.
Twice, as he scrambles between abandoned vehicles, explosions go off nearby.
“At that time, his comrades-in-arms began to fire at him from the Russian positions, but he was not hit,” said Matvienko.
Eventually, as the soldier approaches a dugout, he removes his helmet and puts his hands in the air, before being received by another soldier.
The encounter, Matvienko said, is one example of how “Ukrainian soldiers find such creative ways to defeat Russians on the battlefield.”