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Russian man buys death certificate to avoid returning to the war in Ukraine, sentenced to five years in prison for desertion

Zorigto Arabzhaev, a man from the Siberian region of Buryatia, was sentenced to five years in prison for desertion after he was found to have tried to avoid returning to the war in Ukraine by obtaining a false death certificate.

According to the court's verdict, he bought a fake death certificate while on leave from the military to avoid returning to his unit because his wife had threatened him with suicide, as per a report by Radio Liberty affiliate Sibir.Realii (Siberia.Realities).

Arabzhaev was mobilized in fall 2022. In the spring of 2023, he went on leave, and did not return to his unit. When the military police came to Arabzhaev's home, his son showed them his father's death certificate. The command discovered that the document was forged, leading to Arabzhaev’s arrest.

The soldier pleaded guilty, explaining that he had decided not to return to the war because of his wife's emotional state. In September 2022, before Arabzhaev was mobilised, their eldest son died in an accident. Arabzhaev told the court that his wife was worried about him and threatened to commit suicide if he returned to the war.

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