A Ukrainian source sent this video to us that was taken in Kharkiv on Saturday. Two young Russian soldiers, one 21 and the other 20 have been captured by the Ukrainian military in a battle on the outskirts of the city. We have seen several videos like this where the POWs declare that they were told they were on a training exercise, or that they were in Crimea, or that they were just to gather information and did not know they would be fighting Ukrainians in a war. It is possible that these stories are contrived, but after seeing about five different videos of prisoners all saying they had no idea they were being sent into a war, it’s very possible they didn’t actually know until right before they went into battle. The Russian army is not known for giving their troops a lot of information about where they are going and what they will be doing. Putin was trying to keep operational security as well, and it would not be beyond imagination that they would withhold this information until the last minute.
Prisoner One is not wearing a camo combat uniform typical of Russian ground troops, he has a collared shirt. This may be part of his summer uniform or he may be in the motor pool or some other auxiliary unit pressed into service as infantry in haste.
The Russian army sent to fight in Ukraine is a conscript army of men from 18-27. The term is 12 months of active service with an involuntary inactive reserve obligation of an unspecified time period. Reports of the dismal fighting ability of the Russian soldier so far may relate to the green recruit status of most of their army.