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Russia initiates first criminal case for unauthorized abandonment of military unit by conscript

The first criminal case on unauthorized abandonment of a military unit by a draftee has been initiated in Russia, according to lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov. The accused is a resident of Yakutia in Russia’s Far East.

The case was initiated in line with Part 3.1 of Article 337 of Russia’s Criminal Code – the clause was added to the code on September 24 as part of a package of mobilization-related amendments. The punishment under the clause is up to five years in prison.

It is alleged that the person involved in the case was drafted during mobilization and left a military unit in Buryatia on his own accord, where he had been sent from the military registration and enlistment office. He told the commander that he “won’t go to Ukraine and won’t shoot at any Ukrainians.”

According to him, after that he was threatened with reprisals and criminal liability. He escaped from the unit through a hole in the fence.

Human rights advocate Pavel Chikov published the ruling on the initiation of the case.

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