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Moscow court extends Russian warlord Girkin’s arrest until December

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 12, 2023 8:55 PM 2 min read
Igor Girkin (Strelkov), the former top military commander of Russian proxies in Donetsk Oblast and nationalist blogger sits inside a glass defendants' cage during a hearing to consider an appeal on his pre-trial detention in Moscow on Aug. 29, 2023. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
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A Moscow court has extended the arrest of Igor Girkin, a former commander of Russian proxy forces in the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast, for three more months, Russian media reported on Sept. 12.

Girkin, who has been detained on charges of extremism, asked the court to transfer him to house arrest due to alleged health issues, according to Mediazona, a Russian independent media outlet.

"I am wanted by Interpol and sentenced to life imprisonment (by The Hague court). Therefore, I cannot hide abroad. But I don't see any point in hiding in Russia since I don't recognize the accusation and intend to refute it," Girkin argued, as cited by Mediazona.

However, an investigator said that Girkin can be kept in custody with the recorded diagnosis of hypertension. The Moscow court rejected the war criminal's appeal and prolonged his pre-trial detention until Dec. 18.

Putin cracks down on pro-war opposition as all-out war falters
After Russian dictator Vladimir Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, he swiftly eliminated the liberal anti-war opposition. But Putin now faces a threat from the other side – pro-war hawks who criticize Russia’s political and military leadership for mishandling the wa…

Girkin, also known under the alias Strelkov, is a former officer of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who played a major role in the Russian aggression against Ukraine's Donbas region in 2014.

Girkin has been found guilty by The Hague court of participating in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which killed 298 people in 2014.

During the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he has often lambasted the Kremlin for mishandling the war effort. Girkin co-founded the Club of Angry Patriots, a hardline nationalist movement pushing for more extreme measures to achieve victory over Ukraine.

He was arrested on extremism charges on July 21 in a sign of the Kremlin's crackdown against the pro-war opposition in Russia. Girkin is being held in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

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