Address of Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine to the soldiers of the Russian army – Rules of the Game

My name is Oleksii Reznikov. I am the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

This is a message from Kiev.

Here I address the soldiers and sailors, sergeants and petty officers, midshipmen and officers, generals and admirals of the Russian army.

I mean the Russian Army.

I address the officers and commanders first. Because you make the decisions.
I will not touch on the current situation on the front line. You know that yourself. Let’s talk later.

Let’s talk about your future. You definitely think about it.
Take what I say as the words of a person with certain life experience.

I served a term in the Soviet army and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. But I am a civilian. Most of my professional experience is in law and negotiations.
Anyone who has been involved in negotiations with me, even those on the other side of the table, including the Russians, knows that my style is to tell the truth.

As a lawyer, I am used to dealing with facts. And I would like to draw your attention to the following.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zalujny, is known and respected not only in Ukraine, but also in many countries. He is respected for successfully defending his homeland against one of the most powerful armies in the world. He carefully studied the works of Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff. Now he skillfully applies this knowledge on the battlefield.
Our ground forces are commanded by Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky. It was he who organized the defense of Kiev. Now he heads operations in Kharkiv and Lugansk regions.
Vice Admiral Oleksiy Nejpapa is in command of the Ukrainian Navy. He and his men sank the Russian flagship. For the first time in a hundred years.
Lieutenant General Mykola Oleschuk is in command of the Ukrainian Air Force, which your propaganda destroyed but last February in name only. But somehow you still bury your pilots every day.
Our paratroopers, under the command of Major General Maxim Mirgorodsky, are now on the front line to destroy your defenses.
And where is yours? You know as well as I do. In the same places as your sailors. In cemeteries. In Kostroma. Pskov. Ryazan. Ulyanovsk. Kaliningrad. Ulan-Ude. Tula, Novorossiysk and other cities.
Your troops are now dying on the right bank of the Dnieper. They know their job. But someone in the Kremlin decided to send them to their deaths.

Why all this?
It’s very simple.
You cheated and betrayed.
They promised a healthy ride. But they trapped you. You are paying with your blood for someone and their fantasies and false goals.
They still don’t listen to you. Because listening to you now would mean admitting their mistakes. But they don’t like the truth in Moscow. It is easier for them to say how he died heroically in battle against fictitious NATO troops.
NATO countries give us weapons. That is right. But it is Ukrainian soldiers who hit you with these weapons. You know that.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the frontline. Whether Lisichansk was under fire or Izyum was liberated.

I have presented awards and weapons to our best soldiers many times in the trenches. It is an honor for me.

Our president is with his army. where is yours

You know very well that you don’t free anyone in Ukraine. You destroy whole cities where until yesterday people considered you good neighbors and spoke Russian. Even now, enmity has been sown for generations.
Many of you have already realized that you were sent to die for no good reason.
Maybe that’s why your leader hides in the bunker and doesn’t come to the Front to warm up next to you? He is afraid of your humility, your hatred, your righteous anger.
Our defenders of Mariupol carried out the orders to the end. And we will do everything to get them out of your prisons. We already do. Because they are heroes.
I can list the names of dozens of our generals, officers and soldiers. Because we are proud of them. I am proud of them as a minister.
They are the salt of our earth. And we will take care of them after the war.

And who are you now? Ask yourself how people see you.

Who will you be after this war when your children and grandchildren know the truth?
How will you go down in history?
As those who fight under the same flag with prisoners, with common rights? You will be remembered as a thief, rapist and murderer.

I will tell you what happens next.
Thousands of young Russians will die. Others, more likely, will be left without arms and legs. But they will be dishonorable. You and they will all be scapegoated. And he betrayed again. As you have been betrayed many times before. Remember the wars in Chechnya. You have already been publicly humiliated by war mongers on TikTok. And this is just the beginning.

Nobody talks to the man who is still the leader of Russia. The president of Ukraine clearly refuses this.
Who will represent Russia in possible future negotiations?
I’ll tell you who it is.
Those who cheated you anyway. And who is going to blame you.
Because it’s either you or them.
And you know it’s true.
The Moscow officials and politicians who sent you to war have money and property in NATO countries. Those countries that provide us with weapons. Their families are in NATO countries. Until recently, they felt great in London and Washington. They don’t need Lyman, Popasna, or Kakhovka. They don’t even know where these martyr cities are.
They realize that they are trapped by war. And they will do everything to put their miscalculations and thefts on your back. To hold you accountable.
After the war, you will be the one to look into the eyes of the crippled, widows and orphans of your soldiers. Because no one from the Kremlin will come to them.
Now you will have to live alongside those who fled the mobilization en masse to Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan and even Mongolia.
And they will make sure they are doing the right thing.
You understand that, right?

I will not advise you.
Ukrainians do not need Russian lands – we have enough. And we’ll get it all back.
We immediately guarantee life, safety and justice to all who refuse to fight.
And we will successfully organize a tribunal for those who ordered crimes.
You can still save Russia from tragedy and the Russian army from disgrace.
But time is running out.
Don’t waste it.

Translated from English by Gilles Hertzog.

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