Speed Reads

'I'm afraid'

'Mama, this is so hard': Read the final messages between a fallen Russian soldier and his mother

Ukrainian United Nations Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya read text messages between a fallen Russian soldier and the soldier's mother in front of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

Kyslytsya did not identify the soldier or explain how he obtained the screenshot, though he did say the messages were sent only "several moments" before the soldier was killed.

Before reading the messages, Kyslytsya held up a printout of what he described as "an actual screenshot from someone who is dead already."

Kyslytsya delivered his speech to the General Assembly in English but read the messages in the original Russian. A transcript of the simultaneous translation is provided below:

MOTHER: Why has it been so long since you responded? Are you really in training exercises?

SON: Mama, I'm no longer in Crimea. I'm not in training sessions.

MOTHER: Where are you then? Papa is asking whether I can send you a parcel.

SON: What kind of a parcel, Mama, can you send me?

MOTHER: What are you talking about? What happened?

SON: Mama, I'm in Ukraine. There is a real war raging here. I'm afraid. We are bombing all of the cities together, even targeting civilians. We were told that they would welcome us, and they are falling under our armored vehicles, throwing themselves under the wheels, and not allowing us to pass. They call us fascists. Mama, this is so hard.

After reading the messages, Kyslytsya asked the assembly to "visualize the magnitude of the tragedy" caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He also denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to order Russia's nuclear forces to high alert as "madness" and implied that any use of nuclear weapons by Putin would be suicidal.

"If [Putin] wants to kill himself, he doesn't need to use nuclear arsenal. He has to do what the guy in Berlin did in a bunker in May 1945," Kyslytsya said, drawing a comparison between Putin and Adolf Hitler.