By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Gazeta.ru states in a Saturday article that the defendant troops claim to have been pressured to volunteer after first receiving bribes and other benefits from soldiers in uniform, but lacking identifying insignia, to join the action on Ukrainian territory.
When the military push into Crimea occurred, similarly equipped soldiers occupied the cities and refused to identify themselves when pressed by reporters and others.
Dozens later abandoned their posts when it became known that they would be deploying to Ukraine, a country of which Russia was not officially at war. Some were arrested
Lawyer Tatiana Chernetskaya, defending five of the soldiers, confirmed that “dozens” of soldiers faced tribunals for allegedly abandoning their duties.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied the number of soldiers facing prosecution for desertion, claiming that only four were actually accused of disciplinary violations.
Moscow also denies accusations by western governments of financing, equipping and providing personnel to shore up rebel groups in The Ukraine and for the initial occupation of Crimea.
Junior Sergeant Alexander Enenko, stationed at a base fifty miles from the Ukrainian border, told Gazeta.ru that he saw ununiformed personnel canvassing the base with offers trying to persuade soldiers to join the military action in Ukraine. The unknown recruiters offered the equivalent of $127.00 per day and other benefits for joining the action.
Enenko declined the offer stating to Gazeta.ru “I know for a fact, from my fellow soldiers, that they would bail out on the money, nobody would get anything.”
Gazeta.ru published a handwritten note from another soldier, Pavel Tynchenko, who has been charged with going absent without leave. He issued a statement to a judge: “I did not want break the oath I swore, and did not want to take part in military actions in Ukraine.”
The online news source stated that research of official records from the garrison in the city of Maikop indicates that between 2010 and 2014 only thirty five convictions were handed down for AWOL but during the first half of 2015 sixty two solders faced the same conviction.
According to Chernetskaya, the soldiers did not want to find themselves in battle in Ukraine and instead wrote letters of resignation which were not accepted. In doing so it they faced prosecution for AWOL or desertion.
Sentences range up to five years for AWOL and ten for the latter.
By Darren Smith
Source: Deutsche Welle
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