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Polish border guards near the new fence on the Polish-Belarusian border near the village of Nowdziel on June 30, 2022, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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A Russian soldier deserting from the army was arrested in Poland after illegally crossing the Belarusian border, the Polish border guard reported on May 8.

According to many observers, low morale has been a recurring problem for the Russian Armed Forces fighting in Ukraine. Ukraine's military intelligence said in April that around 18,000 Russian soldiers from the Southern Military District had deserted their posts.

The Polish border guard said they had detained a 41-year-old Russian soldier who crossed the border but did not add any more details.

The Polish media outlet RMF24 later added that the man was not in uniform and unarmed, but that military documents were found indicating he had fought in Ukraine.  

A border guard spokesperson confirmed to the TVN24 media outlet that the man had deserted from the front in Ukraine.

According to RMF24, the soldier reportedly used the so-called "migrant channel" organized by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus has been facilitating flows of third-country migrants to the Baltic countries and Poland since 2021.

The case is being investigated by authorities, the border guard said.

The soldier's motivation for desertion is unknown, as is his intended destination.  

Polish Deputy Interior Minister Czeslaw Mroczek said that it was important to find out exactly why the soldier had crossed the border.

"It is possible that we are dealing with a deserter who is fleeing from the coercion of his own country, from the horrors of war, or we are dealing with a person who was supposed to carry out some tasks in the West," Mroczek said.

"The issue of detaining this alleged deserter is extremely important from the point of view of state security," Mroczek added.

Military Intelligence: Nepalese mercenaries desert Russian army in droves
The Nepalese soldiers, assigned to military unit number 29328 of Russia’s Armed Forces, are deserting due to heavy losses, non-payment of salaries, and commanders’ abuse, “including executions for refusing to follow orders,” Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR) said on May 1.
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