Russia soldier jailed for refusing to join Ukraine war

A Russian court sentenced Marsel Kandarov to five years in prison for refusing to take part in the ‘special military operation’.

Russia Protest
Russian policemen detain a person taking part in an protest against Russia's partial military mobilisation due to the conflict in Ukraine, in downtown Moscow, Russia [File: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA]

A Russian court sentenced a 24-year-old professional soldier to five years in prison for refusing to fight in Ukraine, officials have said.

The soldier, “not wanting to take part in a special military operation”, did not report for duty in May 2022, said the press service on Thursday for courts in the region of Bashkortostan in the southern Urals.

Law enforcement located the man, Marsel Kandarov, in September, the statement added.

Separately, a military tribunal said it sentenced Kandarov to five years behind bars for evading military service during mobilisation for more than a month.

Russia announced the mobilisation of 300,000 men in late September after suffering battlefield defeats at the hands of Ukrainian forces.

The announcement triggered an exodus of men from Russia, with many fleeing to neighbouring countries including Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

Russians across the country rallied against the order but police have attempted to disperse anti-war protests as they detained hundreds, including some children.

Critics have said many mobilised men hardly had any battlefield experience and have received little training before being sent to the front.

Separately, a military tribunal in Moscow sentenced a soldier to five years and six months in a penal colony for “beating” an officer during an argument, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Wednesday.

TASS said the soldier expressed “his dissatisfaction” with the training of mobilised servicemen outside Moscow.

While speaking, he blew cigarette smoke into an officer’s face, who responded by pushing him away. The private then pushed the officer in the chest.

A video of the incident that circulated online showed the soldier complaining of poor training, using obscenities, and calling the drills an “imitation”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies