A member of the Ukrainian National Guard who is reportedly within the “surrounded” steelwork mines of Mariupol got a message out Monday via “Fox & Friends.”
“Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said that, thanks in part to other Fox News staff members and an interpreter, Capt. Bogdan Krotevich was able to give a report on the current situation in the besieged city on the eastern end of Ukraine.
Krotevich, Kilmeade said, is among 100 Ukrainian civilians trapped in the maze of mine shafts below the city.
In Mariupol and nearby Kherson, Krotevich said Russian soldiers have been changing road signs to the Russian language. Some of the captured soldiers, he added, have expressed fear Vladimir Putin will kill them if they refuse to fight.
“I find this surreal because Kherson is a pro-Ukrainian city to its core. We saw protests with marching civilians carrying Ukrainian flags. They were kicking occupiers out of their cities,” Krotevich said in a translated response.
“However, the language of weapons exists. Unfortunately, Russians don’t have any moral principles, so they are speaking to civilians using the language of violence and weapons.”
Krotevich claimed 2,500 Russian soldiers have been killed in the area, but that Ukrainians are still trying to hold on to their communities and lives as many more civilians have been murdered as well.
He suggested senior Russian officers were permitted to kill their own troops if they were unwilling to fight.
“We have lots of interceptions when commanders would tell their seniors that soldiers don’t want to fight,” he said.
“Then, seniors would give the permission to kill those who were unwilling in order to motivate the others to be cannon fodder. To the question of why they came to Ukrainian land, Russians just say, of course, that they didn’t know where they were going, why this war is happening.”
“We still have war prisoners who we offer to trade, but the Russian Federation isn’t interested in trading for them.”
Some Russian POWs indeed expressed fear toward the Kremlin.
“They were worried,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt observed. “They said Putin will kill us if we don’t go and fight.”
According to war historian Adam Makos, Krotevich joined the military in 2014 – the year Russian separatist forces occupied his Crimean hometown of Simferopol.
He enlisted with the Azov Regiment of the national guard and rose to chief of staff of his regiment in eight years’ time, facing constant combat during that period.
Krotevich’s regiment also witnessed the bombing of the city maternity ward, Makos said. As the group’s name suggests, it is stationed near the Sea of Azov – and Krotevich’s unit has been surrounded for more than two months as Russians bombard Mariupol. It is said to be the city’s final defense brigade.
Author and war historian Adam Mako contributed to this report.
Charles Creitz is a reporter for Fox News Digital.