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“Punishment will restore justice”: Mobilized Russian soldier who left unit to help wife with newborn baby sent to prison for three years

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A mobilized soldier from the village of Zolotkovo in Russia’s Vladimir region has been sentenced to three years in a penal colony for deserting his unit to help wife with their newborn daughter. The man, whose wife was in the final stages of pregnancy, was called up to serve in the Russian army in September 2022. On October 15, she gave birth to a baby girl, while her husband had already been deployed to the Belgorod region, writes media outlet Novaya Vkladka (“New Tab”).

Over the phone, the wife told her husband that it was hard for her to take care of the newborn on her own, due to her worries about him being called up to the army. The man then decided to abandon his unit and return home. On October 27, the soldier left his military base in Belgorod, got to the nearest railway station, and called a cab. In court, the cab driver claimed that he took a 20-year-old man in military overalls to Novy Oskol and got 10 thousand roubles (approximately $125) as payment for the ride. From there, the mobilized man got to his hometown of Zolotkovo via Voronezh and Moscow.

In late December, he presented himself to the military commandant's office in Kovrov, but the Vladimir Garrison Court did not consider the reasons for his escape valid, claiming that the birth of his daughter did not constitute “serious life circumstances.” The court then sentenced the man to three years in a penal colony.

“Such punishment will fully ensure the restoration of social justice,” read the verdict.

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