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Kyrgyz man sentenced to 5 years in prison for fighting for Russia in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller June 24, 2024 3:52 PM 1 min read
Kyrgyz labor migrants wait to leave for work in Russia at the office of a company organizing passenger transportation to Russia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Oct. 17, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP via Getty Images)
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A court in the Kyrgyz city of Osh sentenced an unnamed man to five years in prison for fighting for Russia in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Kyrgyz service reported on June 24, citing court representatives.

Under Kyrgyz law, participating in conflicts on foreign territory is forbidden. Another Kyrgyz man was sentenced to a suspended seven-year sentence in January 2024 for fighting with Russian troops in Ukraine. Following the sentence, the man fled to Russia and reportedly reenlisted to fight in Ukraine.

RFE/RL did not report on the specifics of the new case but added that the convicted man has appealed his case.

While estimates vary, hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz nationals likely work in Russia, often doing construction or other manual labor jobs.

Russia has reportedly been actively recruiting Kyrgyz citizens and other Central Asian migrant workers to join the army and fight in Ukraine.

The true figure of Central Asians who have signed up to fight in Ukraine is unknown, as are the associated casualties.

Officials said in August 2023 that at least 10 Kyrgyz nationals had been killed fighting for Russia in Ukraine.

Several Kyrgyz banks partially suspended operations with Russia, media report
Mbank, Kompanion Bank, RKS Bank, Kyrgyz-Swiss Bank (KSB), Kyrgyzcommerzbank, and Keremet Bank have imposed various restrictions on transfers using Russian payment systems.

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