Russian former POW arrested after giving two interviews to Ukrainian journalist

A Russian soldier who was held as a prisoner of war in Ukraine was arrested in Moscow on Friday and charged with “collaboration” while he was in Ukrainian captivity, a Moscow military court told independent news outlet Mediazona.

Pavel Guguev had been given early release from a Russian prison where he had been serving a 12-year sentence for murder to go and fight with the Russian military in Ukraine. While serving, he was captured by Ukrainians troops and became a POW.

While in a Ukrainian POW camp, Guguev gave an interview to Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Karpenko in which he criticised Russia’s military leadership and described the enormous losses being suffered by the Russian army. The interview, which was posted online in May 2023, has been viewed nearly 1.8 million times.

Guguev subsequently returned to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange programme, after which he granted Karpenko a second interview in which he continued to openly discuss Russian war crimes and the military’s tactical mistakes. That interview has had 2.9 million views to date.

In the second interview, Guguev said there were no circumstances under which he would return to fight against Ukraine. “How can I go and kill you after you spared my life?” he asked. “I won’t go anywhere. I simply won’t go on principle.”

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