Russian servicemen who were locked in a basement in Luhansk region lodge statements with Investigative Committee for unlawful imprisonment

Russia’s servicemen who refused to fight against Ukraine earlier and were locked in a basement in the occupied Luhansk region have lodged statements with the Russian Investigative Committee for unlawful imprisonment, says Pavel Chikov of Agora, a human rights group.

Russian servicemen locked in a basement / Pavel Chikov

Russian servicemen locked in a basement / Pavel Chikov

The men who lodged statements are contracted soldiers Alexander Afonin and Andrey Vasilyev, Mikhail Nosov, a mobilised soldier, and relatives of three more mobilised individuals. The applicants request for a criminal procedure to be launched on the account of abuse of rank, kidnapping, and unlawful imprisonment.

Having arrived at the battlezone, the contracted soldiers “faced insufficient medical and material support” and “decided to refuse to participate in hostilities,” Chikov says.

“After refusing to fight, they, together with approximately 280 mobilised, were placed in a basement in the locality of Zaitseve in the ‘LPR’ where they were deprived of their freedom and kept without proper food in inhuman conditions for two weeks. According to them, senior commanders and employees of the military prosecutor’s office used psychological pressure and threats against them,” the human rights activist says.

The statement in question / PAvel Chikov

The statement in question / PAvel Chikov

After the contracted soldiers had their contracts finished, they were freed and taken to the Rostov region in Russia proper. Some of the mobilised servicemen are still in Zaitseve, Chikov notes.

Earlier, ASTRA spoke with Mikhail who was released from the basement. Mikhail was drafted on 23 September from the Russian Far East. Mikhail and other mobilised men were sent to Rostov-on-Don to train already on 2 October. However, after arriving in the Rostov region, the draftees were told to board buses and taken to the Donetsk people’s republic frontline. On 12 October, Mikhail returned from the combat zone and wrote a note to refuse to fight. He claims that 13 more people did the same.

On 16 October, the 14 men who gave these notes were taken to an unknown location. It later was revealed that they were kept in a basement in Staromlynivka, Donetsk region, and later moved to the woods near Mariupol. On 1 November, the draftees were relocated to Zavitne Bazhannya.

“We did not wash once. There’s nowhere to wash there. We only had wet wipes and that’s it. We peed in a bucket in the room,” Mikhail said.

According to him, the draftees were fed once a day.

ASTRA identified at least 9 places where mobilised Russians were or are kept.

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