Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky switched into Russian in his nightly video address to urge Russian soldiers not to fight in Ukraine, saying even their generals expected that thousands of them would die.
He said Russia has been recruiting new troops “with little motivation and little combat experience” for the units that were gutted during the early weeks of the war so these units can be thrown back into battle.
He said Russian commanders fully understand that thousands of them will die and thousands more will be wounded in the coming weeks.
“The Russian commanders are lying to their soldiers when they tell them they can expect to be held seriously responsible for refusing to fight and then also don’t tell them, for example, that the Russian army is preparing additional refrigerator trucks for storing the bodies,” Mr Zelensky said late on Saturday.
“They don’t tell them about the new losses the generals expect. Every Russian soldier can still save his own life. It’s better for you to survive in Russia than to perish on our land.”
It comes as Sweden said a Russian military plane violated Swedish airspace. The incident happened late on Friday in the Baltic Sea near the island of Bornholm.
In a statement on Saturday, the Swedish Armed Forces said a Russian AN-30 propeller plane flew toward Swedish airspace and briefly entered it before leaving the area.
The Swedish Air Force scrambled fighter jets which photographed the Russian plane.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish public radio that the violation was “unacceptable” and “unprofessional”.
In a similar incident in early March four Russian warplanes violated Swedish airspace over the Baltic Sea.
Sweden and neighbouring Finland are both considering Nato membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has warned that such a move would have consequences, without giving specifics.