Russian contract soldiers increasingly jailed in occupied Donbas | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 04.08.2022

Russian military personnel are increasingly refusing to take part in its invasion of Ukraine, human rights activists say. Contract soldiers who no longer want to fight in Ukraine or want leave for family reasons are being denied their wish to leave the country. The so-called “refuseniks,” as relatives and activists tell DW, are being held in camps and prisons in several locations in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic; that is, in areas that are in Ukraine but not controlled by Kyiv.

From the age of 18, Russian men may sign a temporary contract with the Ministry of Defense to earn a living in the army for a limited time. These contract soldiers are currently fighting alongside professional forces in Ukraine. Many of them had signed their contracts before Russia invaded Ukraine and did not know where they would be sent until the last moment, human rights activists explain.

In the meantime, several parents of soldiers from Russia have made their way to Donbas to push for their sons’ release. DW has learned that they traveled to the city of Brianka, where according to media reports, more than 200 such refuseniks are being kept in a camp. Parents have been holding a vigil outside, from morning to night. A Russian soldier who was jailed here told DW the camp is a former penal colony.

Source: Russian contract soldiers increasingly jailed in occupied Donbas | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 04.08.2022