What Russian Soldiers Going To Jail Over Fighting Ukraine Reveals

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Putin May Have a New Problem in Ukraine: A lawyer revealed this week how a group of Russian soldiers accused their commanders of throwing them in prison in Ukraine’s Donbas region for refusing to fight in the war.

According to Maxim Grebenyuk, a Russian lawyer who runs the Moscow-based advocacy organization Military Ombudsman, at least four Russian troops filed written complaints about their treatment in Ukraine. The soldiers demanded that their superiors be punished for detaining them over their refusal to fight.

There have been an estimated 140 soldiers put behind bars in eastern Ukraine, with some allegedly guarded by pro-Moscow mercenaries in a military base surrounded by land mines, the Guardian reported.

Now, at least four want their superiors punished for the seemingly illegal arrests, according to the newspaper.

“As a result of what I believe were tactical and strategic mistakes made by my commanders … and their total disregard for human life … I made the decision not to continue in the military operation,” one soldier jailed for over a week said in written testimony to prosecutors, which was observed by the Guardian.

The soldier, identified by the alias “Vladimir,” testified he was held in the town of Bryansk with about 80 soldiers guarded by the shadowy organization Wagner Group. Members of Wagner told the captive soldiers that mines surrounded the military base where they were being held — and threatened to shoot anyone trying to escape, the soldier wrote.

“We were fed once a day at lunchtime. There was no basic hygiene,” the soldier said in the testimony, according to the Guardian. “The whole time, not a single document was provided that would explain our arrest. We were illegally jailed.”

“They [Wagner soldiers] told us that mines had been placed outside the military base and that whoever tried to flee would be considered an enemy and shot on the spot,” Vladimir wrote.

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Vladimir was finally able to leave the jail after a military doctor recommended he be hospitalized for injuries he sustained earlier in the war.

Since the Kremlin has not formally declared war on Ukraine, Russian contract soldiers should be able to opt out of the fighting without being prosecuted or jailed. Vladimir touched on this point, saying, “Military personnel can be deprived of their liberty only in cases strictly specified in Russian law, namely when they are believed to have committed a crime.”

The Russian soldier also revealed that some soldiers who refused to continue serving in Ukraine have been taken away by authorities and not heard from again.

“Some soldiers, under the threat of violence, were simply driven out to unknown destinations, they have not been seen since,” said Vladimir.

The Russian defense ministry has not responded to the Guardian’s request for comment.

Sources: 100percentfedup, The Guardian

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