Ukraine’s ‘surrender hotline’ for Russian soldiers gets 100 enquiries a day

Kiev: A scheme set up by the Ukraine government which under which Russian soldiers can call a hotline or enter details through messenger apps if they want to surrender, is getting about a 100 enquiries a day, the media reported.

According to officials in Kiev, through the “I Want To Live” scheme which started in September, Russian troops can choose the best way by either calling on the hotline number or texting on Telegram and WhatsApp to surrender to Ukrainian forces, reports the BBC.

The officials said that they have had over 3,500 contacts from invading personnel, as well as their families.

The BBC report said that there has been an increase since Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilised hundreds of thousands of Russian men, and since the city of Kherson was liberated.

Once they surrender, the Russian prisoners of war (PoWs) can be used as currency in future exchanges, it added.

According to a Ukrainian call handler, the evenings are the busiest, when troops have more spare time and can sneak off and make a call.

“First of all, we hear a voice, mainly male,” she told the BBC.

“It’s often part-desperate, part-frustrated, because they don’t fully understand how the hotline works, or whether it’s just a set-up. There’s also curiosity because many call not to surrender but to find out how they could if needed. It’s different every time,” she added.

The call handler however, did not give out the exact number of Russians she helped, or exactly how the process takes place.

They are just told to share their location before being given further instructions, she told the BBC.

Vitalii Matviyenko, who leads the project, said that it was created to help save lives of those who surrender.

“We especially want to target the partially mobilised who not only can’t fight but are thrown in as cannon fodder. This project was created so their lives will be guaranteed if they surrender voluntarily,” he was quoted as saying.


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