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Russian officer flees to Lithuania, asks for asylum

by Martin Fornusek August 12, 2023 12:05 AM 2 min read
Lithuanian border guard officers patrol along the Belarus–Lithuania border on July 10, 2023 in Dieveniskes, Lithuania. (Photo credit: Omar Marques/Getty Images)
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Russian Lieutenant Ivan Korolev illegally crossed the Lithuanian border and asked the country's authorities for political asylum, the BBC reported on Aug. 11.

After entering Lithuania, Korolev managed to reach the country's capital Vilnius only to be detained by Lithuanian border guards on Aug. 10 and sent to a border checkpoint, where he managed to contact a BBC correspondent.

"On August 3, I decided to leave the Russian Federation due to the fact that I did not want to take part in the bloody war that my state unleashed," Korolev told the BBC.

"At the moment I am in the Republic of Lithuania, where I asked for political asylum."

The officer claimed that while he took part in Russia's aggression against Ukraine, he has never been deployed outside of Russia. His position as the "deputy head of the warehouse of the accounting and operational department of the field artillery warehouse" entailed supplying the troops fighting in Ukraine with ammunition, Korolev said.

The BBC noted that Korolev's claims have not been currently verified. The unit to which he is assigned is under normal circumstances stationed in the village of Teysin in Khabarovsk Krai, the news outlet added.

The artillery officer's application was taken into consideration by the Lithuanian authorities, after which he was taken to a migration center in the town of Pabrade not far from the Belarusian border.

A number of Russian officers have fled Russia to seek asylum in European countries because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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