On Wednesday, the Russian government announced that a special unit had eliminated a soldier who had voluntarily left a military base. The man was identified by state media as an armed deserter from the fighting in Ukraine.
“Dmitry Perov, wanted for illegally leaving his military unit, was found and eliminated,” the government of the Lipetsk region in western Russia said on social media. “The situation is under control,” she added, adding that there is no danger to residents and the incident is being investigated. The statement did not say how the man was killed.
The state broadcaster VGTRK reported that the man was 31 years old and had fled the “special military operation zone”, a term used by Moscow for the offensive in Ukraine.
A search warrant was issued which said the soldier had fled Ukraine on January 13 and was armed with a rifle and grenades. Available information suggested the possibility that he might be headed for his native village.
Cases of desertion of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine are not unique in recent months. The newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday about eight soldiers who refused to fight in Ukraine and were accused of desertion. The paper said the soldiers left the base in eastern Ukraine in late December and returned to Russia by taxi.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine in September, he also tightened laws against desertion. It introduced penalties of up to 10 years in prison for desertion or refusal to serve in the military. After mobilization was announced, thousands of Russians fled the country to avoid conscription.
The commando eliminated the Russian defector, who had escaped from a military base in Ukraine. The government stated that the situation was under control and the incident was being investigated. The incident highlighted the harsh penalties imposed by the Russian government on soldiers who refused to fight in Ukraine. The deserter was armed with a rifle and grenades, and was on his way back to his native village. The incident also highlighted the fact that thousands of Russians had fled the country to avoid conscription.