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School student drafted to fight for Russia in Donetsk region, mother says

Nikita, 18, a school student, was drafted in the Russia-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine on 25 February, his mother Natalya Gladkikh, has told in a video she recorded, and confirmed it as she spoke to TV Rain.

The young man was sent to Kherson under the guise of military training, where he still is, the woman says.

The local police visited her during Nikita’s school break and told her he is obliged to appear at the local conscription office. “Basic military training, they said. To teach him how to assemble and disassemble a rifle,” Gladkikh says.

Natalya and her son appeared at the local conscription office the next day and brought a proof that the boy is still a school student with them. They were told that the boy would be taken for three or four days anyway, she says.

Shortly afterwards, Nikita was taken to Crimea by train, and on 3 March Natalya found out he was brought to Kherson without any military training.

“He fell sick up there. They don’t have any physicians there, and the food supply is scarce, for example, they did not get any food today. When they were on the western bank, they didn’t have any deliveries of food for weeks. They could get a loaf of bread for four people, and that’s it. He has horror in his voice and in his eyes. They had to melt snow in the spring just to have a drink of water,” the woman says.

Nikita received his school diploma while he was on the frontlines. “He did not get a chance to enrol in a college as he never left the frontlines since then,” Natalya says.

She also added that she “went to all sorts of departments” but the authorities of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” did not help her.

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