Captured Russian pilot Maksym Kryshtop confessed to war crimes at the press conferense.
He said that he had managed to execute three flights over the territory of Ukraine. During one of them, he dropped 4 tonnes of highly explosive bombs on the houses of civilians.
Source: Kryshtop, during a press conference on 11 March
According to Kryshtop: "My third combat flight was on 6 March. I had 4 tonnes of highly explosive aviation bombs on board. During the execution of the combat task, I realized that the target was not the enemy’s military objects, but people’s homes and civilians. However, I still executed the malicious order. Later on, I was shot down by Ukraine’s air defense and taken prisoner by the National Guardsmen of Ukraine."
Details: According to Kryshtop, pilots received an order to strike on the territory of Ukraine on 24 February.
The same day, he had his first combat flight. Kryshtop dropped 3 tonnes of highly explosive bombs on Ukrainian servicemen who were stationed south of Balakliia. He added that the target was hit.
His second combat flight was on 3 March. His plane carried 3 tonnes of highly explosive bombs, which he dropped on a convoy of Ukrainian armored military equipment near Izyum. Kryshtop made it clear that this target was also hit.
"If we had not been shot down, we would have continued carrying out our orders, because we are military men," said Kryshtop.
When a journalist asked him whether he had an opportunity not to comply with his order when he understood that he had to bomb civilian houses, Kryshtop said that such an opportunity existed, but he "showed weakness and cowardice."
The soldier also said that his command had notified them that they would be taking part in military action in Ukraine as early as January 2022. He added that they were preparing for the offensive under cover of carrying out exercises.
The Russian serviceman also admitted that he had committed horrific crimes. He asked for forgiveness and promised to "make efforts to ensure that the war ends as soon as possible, and that all those responsible are brought to justice."
He also urged Russian soldiers to stop carrying out criminal orders and waging war against Ukraine’s civilians.
"I believe that we have already lost this war," Kryshtop concluded.
Background: Maxim Kryshtop is Lieutenant Colonel, Deputy Commander of the 47th Aviation Regiment HF 45117 RF Armed Forces.
He flew a Su-34 (fighter-bomber). During the three combat sorties, he dropped a total of 20 FAB-500 bombs (each weighing 500 kg).
On 24 February and 3 March, Kryshtop – together with an air navigator – dropped 12 air bombs (6 each day) on the city of Izyum, Kharkiv region, on civilian buildings, in the area where there are no units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or any other military formations.
On 6 March, Kryshtop, together with an airborne navigator, dropped 8 bombs on the city of Kharkiv, again targeting civilian buildings.
There were two more Russian pilots at the press conference: Golovenskiy Maksym and Kozlov Alexey.