Dozens of Russian servicemen go to court to challenge ‘illegal’ order to send them to fight in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in rare show of open dissent
- Soldiers are suing the army after they were fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine
- The 25 servicemen are taking their region commander to court at a military base
- Hundreds of guards from 17+ cities and regions are mulling the same move
- True number of Russian army ‘refuseniks’ could be as high as 40 per cent
- The trial, which is a rare public spat among Putin’s forces, begins tomorrow
A group of Russian soldiers are suing the army after they were fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine.
In a rare public spat involving the Kremlin, 25 National Guard ‘refuseniks’ defied their commanders’ orders to invade Ukraine.
The servicemen are taking North Caucasian District commander Lt-Gen Sergey Zakharov to court at the Vladikavkaz military base in south-western Russia.
Proceedings are set to begin tomorrow, according to lawyer and human rights campaigner Pavel Chikov.
Putin (pictured with army chiefs Valery Gerasimov, left, and Sergei Shoigu, right in 2021) faces a public spat involving his own soldiers as 25 infantrymen take their commander to court
The test case aims to declare their dismissal order ‘illegal’ since it was based on their refusal to go to Ukraine.
Human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov is set to represent the ‘refusenik’ Russian soldiers
Hundreds of guards from at least 17 cities and regions have sought legal advice and aim to follow the Vladikavkaz 25 in launching legal cases.
The true number of ‘refuseniks’ may be far higher, with some estimating that between 20 and 40 per cent of conscripted soldiers refused to join Putin’s war.
Many Russian fighters have complained about having to kill their Slavic neighbours. Vicious fighting in the eastern Donbas region has also reportedly put many off.
Russia’s National Guard is an ‘internal’ security force reporting directly to Putin.
North Caucasian District commander Lt-Gen Sergey Zakharov (left) is being taken to court by 25 of his own soldiers after they were sacked for refusing to fight. General Valery Gerasimov (right) has been responsible for the faltering invasion and was reportedly injured by shrapnel
The ‘Vladikavkaz 25’ may inspire a nationwide revolt (Caucasus pictured in the background)
They were sent into Ukraine early in the war when the Kremlin believed that locals would rapidly surrender to Russian troops.
The aim was that the guards would keep order in Ukrainian cities.
Many died although figures have not been disclosed.
Lawyers from a number of other cities and regions are working on more cases, including Krasnodar, Nalchik, Cherkessk, Samara, Moscow region, Veliky Novgorod, Simferopol, Novocherkassk, Vladivostok, Stavropol, Abakan, Pskov, Orenburg, Ulan-Ude, Petersburg, and Smolensk.