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Putin-Linked Mercenary Leader Says Many Ukrainian Soldiers Defected To Russia Since December: 'Were Forced To Fight'

The chief of a group linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin said several dozen Ukrainian soldiers have defected to Russia since mid-December.

What Happened: Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the movement “We are together with Russia,” told Tass that the transitions have become “a regular occurrence in the Zaporizhzhia direction.”

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“The number of crossings has sharply increased since mid-December. We are talking about at least several dozen crossings of people to the side of Russia in the Zaporizhzhia region,” Rogov said, adding that these soldiers “were forced to fight.”  

Rogov said Russia is also taking preventive measures against the soldiers who have changed sides and checking for their involvement in war crimes. “If their involvement is not confirmed, then after a while, they can return to normal life,” he said.

“There are even people who are already fighting on our side,” the chief said. 

Supported by the Russian authorities, “We are together with Russia” is a pro-Russian organization. It operates in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The activities of the group are being organized by the United Russia party and the All-Russia People’s Front, headed by Putin.

Meanwhile, Putin’s ally and former President Dmitry Medvedev said the defeat of Putin in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war and warned the West to reconsider their support for Kyiv.

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