The majority of Russia's armed forces are against the policies of their leaders, FSB defector says

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, center, walks out of a trench, escorted by a group of officers as he inspects Russian troops at an undisclosed location in Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, center, walks out of a trench at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on December 22, 2022.Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
  • A former doctor with Russia's spy agency said she collected secrets before she fled.

  • Maria Dmitrieva is seeking asylum in France, and brought with her documents from the FSB.

  • She told CNN that she learned that most of Russia's army is unhappy with their leaders' policies.

The majority of Russian soldiers are unhappy with their leaders' policies, a former doctor with Russia's security and spy agency FSB told CNN.

Maria Dmitrieva, 32, told CNN that she had been working as a doctor for the FSB before she fled to Europe, and that she collected secrets from the agency in order to prepare for her defection.

Dmitrieva said she flew from Moscow to France on October 12, 2022.

According to CNN, she's part of a flood of senior Russians, including soldiers, mercenaries, and FSB officials, who are arriving in Europe to escape the war.

Dmitrieva, who is now in France, where she is seeking asylum, told CNN: "I brought photos, audio and video recordings which confirms that the majority of the Russian army is against some of the policies of the current leaders."

She did not clarify what policies were particularly unpopular with Russia's army. But other defectors and soldiers have said that the Russian army does not give troops enough training and equipment, and that they were ordered to kill civilians.

Another defector, who used to be an FSB lieutenant, told CNN that "every second FSB officer wants to run away" as they understand that Russia won't win the war.

It's unclear how unpopular Russia's invasion is among its troops, but Russia's partial draft last year resulted in tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of citizens fleeing the country.

Dmitrieva also said that she brought documents with her to France. These included twice smuggling her phone into an FSB building, where she recorded conversations with patients and with senior officials, as well as officials discussing the Russian army's collapse, CNN reported.

CNN described Dmitrieva's life as one of "privilege and access" when working with the FSB.

But that didn't stop her from defecting.

"What inspires me the most is that I am sure that I am taking the correct actions to stop what's happening so that less people will die," she told CNN.

"Putin and his retinue and everyone who approves of this war – these people are murderers," she added.

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