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'We will all be judged,' says the narrator. Russian POWs express concern and shame about the fighting in Ukraine.

"I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we'll rise against him."

Russian President Vladimir Putin "has given orders to commit crimes. It's not just to demilitarize Ukraine or defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but now cities of peaceful civilians are being destroyed."

"The crimes that we committed; we all will be judged."

These are the voices of Russian prisoners of war now held by Ukraine.

Nearly a dozen have appeared in news conferences held by the Ukrainian authorities, just a few of the 600 that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says have been captured. 

Their public appearances may be questionable under the Geneva Conventions, which forbid states from causing unnecessary humiliation to prisoners of war. And it is possible that they felt pressure to express views sympathetic to those of their captors.

But three captured Russian air force pilots did not suggest they were speaking under duress.

The prisoners were not handcuffed, and while they didn't move from their seats, seemed to be under no physical restraint.

We are reporting the contents of this interview as there appears to be a common thread appearing from other Russian prisoners of war speaking following their captures -- that this is not a war they want to be fighting.

The three pilots sat around a table. One of them had a gash in his forehead, which he said had been sustained before his capture.

"The treatment has been acceptable. They've offered us food and drink. They offered medical treatment," said one pilot, whose first name is Maxim.

The three Russian captives revealed that they had deep disquiet about their mission and the suffering of Ukrainian civilians. They also had harsh words for their commander-in-chief, Putin.

And they spoke of tearful calls home.

Their testimony appears to support western assessments that there are morale issues among at least some Russian troops in Ukraine. On March 1, a senior US official said the US has "indications that morale is flagging in some" of the Russian units.

"They again did not expect the resistance that they were going to get, and that their own morale has suffered as a result," the official said.

Maxim, an officer and fighter-bomber pilot, did most of the talking. He looked bruised and very pale but spoke lucidly in the tone of a professional soldier. He said he had only received his "secret combat order" the day before Putin announced the "special military operation" against Ukraine.

The pilots were asked what they thought about Putin's claims that Ukraine was run by neo-Nazis.

"I think it was invented as a pretext and is something that the world cannot understand," Maxim said. "But Putin and his circle need this in order to achieve their own objectives. One such step was that it would be beneficial for them to spread disinformation about fascism and Nazism."

"We didn't see any Nazis or fascists. Russians and Ukrainians can communicate in the same language, so we see the good (in these people)," Maxim said.

"It's hard to give a direct assessment of his actions. But, at the bare minimum, judging by the consequences of his orders, he is incorrect."

At a different media briefing in the same venue, a reconnaissance officer called Vladimir who had been captured told a group of international reporters, "Our government told us we need to liberate the civilian population. I want to tell Russian servicemen: lay down your arms and leave your stations, don't come here. Everyone wants peace here."

Vladimir then went a big step further, saying: "I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we'll rise against him."

Another reconnaissance officer at the same event echoed the sentiment, addressing Putin directly.

"You won't hide this for long. There are many like us here. Sooner or later, we'll come home."

"It's not just about demilitarizing Ukraine or the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but now cities of peaceful civilians are being destroyed. Even, I don't know, what can justify, f**k, the tears of a child, or even worse, the deaths of innocent people, children."

He said they were aware of what had happened in places like Mariupol, where nearly 1,600 people have been killed since the invasion began.

"It was a horrifying fact, not just because it is a crime. It's vandalism. You cannot forgive such things. To bomb a maternity ward?" he said.

"It's the most perverse f**king form of neo-Nazism, neo-fascism. Who could think of such a thing?"

Another pilot, whose first name is Alexei, added quietly, "It's not really up to us, who to bomb, what to bomb. It's a command."

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