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Media: Russian soldier charged for voluntary surrender for first time since mobilization introduced

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 11, 2024 6:05 PM 2 min read
Russian prisoners of war line up before dinner at a POW camp in western Ukraine in late September 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Alexander Khrebet/ The Kyiv Independent)
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A Russian soldier was charged for voluntarily surrendering for the first time since Russia introduced mobilization in September 2022, Mediazona reported on April 11, citing a Khabarovsk Krai court in Khabarovsk.

There are few details known about the case, Mediazona said, and the circumstances of his alleged surrender were not clarified. The soldier was also charged with desertion, the court file said. Ukraine is not mentioned in the court documents, and it is unclear where the soldier allegedly surrendered.

According to Mediazona, it was the first time that a Russian soldier had been charged with surrendering under the heightened punishments introduced after the beginning of mobilization in September 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the increased punishments into law amid the so-called "partial mobilization" that officially declared 300,000 soldiers would be summoned. The true figure of those mobilized is unknown.

Among the changes to the criminal code was the addition that soldiers who  "voluntarily surrendered" could face from three to 10 years in prison.

The number of Russian soldiers who have surrendered since the beginning of the full-scale war is unknown, and Ukrainian authorities do not disclose how many Russian prisoners of war (POWs) are currently in custody.

Ukraine's military intelligence launched a hotline called "I want to live" in September 2022 to help Russian troops surrender themselves or their units to the Ukrainian military.

Vitalii Matviienko, a military intelligence spokesperson, said in January that more than 220 Russian soldiers had surrendered using the hotline as of December 2023.

Another 1,000 requests for surrender were pending, added Matviienko.

‘I want to go home’: Inside a Russian prisoner of war camp in Ukraine
Editor’s note: The location of the prisoner of the war detention center is undisclosed for security reasons. The Kyiv Independent got vocal recorded agreement from the prisoners of the war to be interviewed and identified in the story. Undisclosed location in Western Ukraine – Private Alexey Strelk…
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