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Former Interior Ministry chief of Yekaterinburg killed in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller January 3, 2024 7:40 PM 2 min read
Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Aug. 19, 2017. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Igor Trifonov, a convicted criminal and the former head of the Yekaterinburg branch of Russia's Interior Ministry, was killed fighting in Ukraine, Russian state-controlled media Kommersant wrote on Jan. 3, citing Trifonov's lawyer.

Trifonov, who served as the head of the Yekaterinburg branch of Russia's Interior Ministry from 2011-2017, was convicted on bribery and weapons charges in 2022. He was then sentenced to nine years and four months in prison.

Local media reported that Trifonov wanted to prove his innocence and fight for Russia, and eventually was able to secure a contract with the Russian military at the end of 2023.

Trifonov was killed shortly after arriving at the front, the report said, without providing further details on how he was killed.

In 2022, Russian authorities allowed the Wagner mercenary group to recruit prisoners in Russian jails, a practice which has since been taken up by Russia's Defense Ministry. As per the contracts signed to enlist, convicts are usually offered an official pardon in exchange for the completion of military service.

The U.K. Defense Ministry wrote in October 2023 that Russia mostly continues to rely heavily on so-called "Storm-Z" units, staffed by both convicts and regular troops on disciplinary charges, for local offensive operations in Ukraine.

Such units are often used as cannon fodder and suffer high casualties.

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