Novaya Gazeta reporter Pavel Kanygin talked to detained Russian servicemen Sergeant Aleksandrov and Captain Yerofeyev after they were visited by the consul of the Russian Federation, Censor.NET reports.
"I met again with Captain Yerofeyev and Sergeant Aleksandrov the next day after the visit of the Russian consul. I came to see the guys and to pass along a message from their friends from Samara - they contacted me the day before through social networks. I did not think I would use the camera once again. But the guys asked for it. They said that they could not get through to their families, because they did not pick up the phones. We called together - there was a ringing tone, we tried again, but the subscriber was 'unavailable'. The guys decided that they would talk to their families and to the world at least like this - through me and my camera. We talked about everything. The guys were interested in the news. They asked me to film some episodes. Sometimes they asked to stop recording. I read a letter to Captain Yerofeyev from his friend and he could hardly hold back tears," the journalist writes.
"On the bedside table the captain has an icon of the Mother of God. On the sergeant's table there is a photo of his wife Katya. Medical worker Aleksandrov says that when this is over, he will join the Red Cross. Yerofeyev has an idea of creating a Donbas war veterans association. They tirelessly tell me all this. And I just listen," Kanygin added.
"Yesterday (May 26 - ed.) the consul came. He asked me about my health. Whether everything was ok. Did I have what I needed. I asked about my sudden dismissal. He could not comment on it. He said that he would clarify it [with the Defense Ministry]. Regarding the exchange [he said] that negotiations were underway. But while we are under investigation, there can be no discussion about any exchange. He said that we should not worry, that Russia had not forgotten about us. That Russia would help us, and even if we go to jail, it will be for a short time. That's what he said. I said that I hope would not go to jail. I told him that I could not get through to my relatives and he said that he could not either - the phone was switched off. They will continue trying," Sergeant Alexander Aleksandrov said.
"It never happened before that I would call my mother and she did not pick up the phone. With my wife - even when we were only going out and I left for training, I could always get through, even at night, at 2 a.m., sometimes. I always knew that she would pick up the phone. And now ... I talked to my mother in early May, on the 3rd, congratulated her on her birthday. And today is what? 27th already, my father will celebrate his 60th anniversary. And I can't even call," the Russian sergeant complained about the silence of his relatives.
"We do not communicate with the Ukrainian military. They say it's for our own safety. People came from the war, after all. They have questions [to us]. Nobody understands. But when you look at them, they return as heroes, they return with dignity. Their motherland does not disown them, even those who were in captivity. They are taken care of, [the country] tries to get them back. And we have an interesting situation. We are taught patriotism and love of the country from childhood... Actually, my patriotism has not disappeared. I love my motherland. But motherland is not some kind of state or government leaders. It is people close to me, friends, regular citizens, home. And the state is simply not behaving very nice, [when] it disowns [us]. Moreover, it even involves family members, people dear to you. It is just not very humane ... I am talking about the interview with my wife (the story aired by Rossia 24 channel where she said that he quit the army in December - ed.). I was deeply hurt. She has nothing to do with this and she is not guilty of anything. It is obvious that the interview was made in haste..." Aleksandrov said.