Panic scenes in Russia over news that President Vladimir Putin is about to call up army reservists have prompted a cheery response from Ukrainian troops, according to a frontline volunteer.

Former company boss Seva Koshel spoke about the move from Moscow, which saw Russian men rushing to leave the country, in the latest edition of Sky News’ Ukraine War Diaries podcast.

“Putin said he would mobilize about 300,000 people,” he says.

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“And I would say that in Ukraine we don’t worry about that… but we’re quite happy because it means that our Ukrainian armed forces have just kicked [the backside] of the Russian army.

“So when we read Russian news on Telegram channels, all my friends were smiling because it caused such panic in Russia. They all googled how to escape the country, how to avoid mobilization.”

The mobilization order follows almost seven months of war. In recent weeks, Ukraine said it had liberated significant land in the eastern Donbass region, where some of the heaviest fighting has taken place.

According to Seva, the latest Kremlin directive serves as a sobering reality check for Russians.

General manager turned military volunteer Seva Koshel

“All that blah, blah, blah, when they were talking [about] how huge they are, how awesome they are, how badly they want to win us over…when it comes to real life…not just watching TV, but actually being part of the military…so they don’t want to die.

“I really want, from the bottom of my heart, to live…this is war. For them, this war was just on TV, a war of huge, democratic and nice Russia, against Nazi Ukraine.

“We are waiting for those 300,000.”

From the creators of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast series, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast that follows those living on Europe’s new frontline and those who have escaped it.

Producer: Robert Mulhern

Digital Promotion and Additional Writing: David Chipakupaku

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