The army is “terrorized”: a Russian soldier denounces the war in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

Army is “terrorized”: Russian soldier denounces war in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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A Russian soldier patrols the site of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, June 13, 2022. (Archives)

He broke the law silence and fled Russia: Pavel Filatiev, a soldier who fought two months in Ukraine before denouncing the Kremlin offensive in a long account published on the Internet, is now asking for asylum politics in France.

The 34-year-old soldier arrived at Roissy airport in Paris via Tunisia on Sunday and met with officers from the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) on Monday.

At the beginning of August, the paratrooper, who had re-enlisted last year in the 56th regiment of airborne troops based in Crimea after having left the ranks of the army, posted a 141-page story on the social network Vkontakte denouncing the state of Russian troops and the war in Ukraine.

Pavel Filiatiev was part of the 56th Airborne Troops Regiment based in Crimea when he published his 141-page account denouncing the russian army.

When I learned that the command was asking for me to be sentenced to 15 years in prison for false information [against the Russian army], I understood that I would not achieve anything here and that my lawyers could do nothing for me in Russia, tells Pavel Filatiev to AFP, who met him on Monday in the waiting area for asylum seekers in Roissy. /p>

His text, entitled ZOV – which means appeal in Russian and at the same time recalls the letters painted on Russian armor in Ukraine – criticizes the Russian invasion launched on February 24 .

We did not have the moral right to attack another country, moreover the people closest to us, writes in this account the soldier, himself the son of a soldier who had served in this same 56th regiment.

It depicts a tattered Russian army, barely equipped and untrained, in the same state that Russia has become in recent years.

From year to year, the mess and corruption are becoming more and more significant, explains Pavel Filatiev. Corruption, disorder, I don't care have exceeded the limits of what is acceptable, he adds, recounting that he was quickly disillusioned after signing his contract.

“The first few months I was in shock. I was like ''it's not possible'' and, at the end of the year, I understood that I did not want to serve in such an army. »

— Pavel Filatiev

However, he does not resign and finds himself on the front line once what the Kremlin calls the special operation is launched. With his regiment, he goes first to Kherson, then to Mykolaiv, two cities on the shores of the Black Sea.

If the army was in times of peace already in a mess, corrupt and I don't care, it is obvious that in times of war, of fighting, it will appear even more and the lack of professionalism become even more visible, he said, believing that the Russian government had played a major role in destroying the army inherited from the USSR.

After two months of fighting during which he assures that his regiment did not take part in any exactions against civilians or prisoners, Pavel Filatiev was evacuated due to an infection in his right eye and hospitalized in Sevastopol, Crimea.

He tries to resign for health reasons, but his hierarchy asks him to return to the front, threatening to open an investigation against him if he does not do so.

At the beginning of August, he left Crimea and published his diary on the Internet. After wandering from town to town in Russia to avoid detection, he eventually left the country.

Why am I telling all this in detail? I want people in Russia and around the world to understand how this war happened, why people continue to wage it, explains Pavel Filatiev.

“ It's not because they want to fight, it's because they find themselves in such conditions that it is very difficult for them to leave. »

— Pavel Filatiev

The army, like Russian society, is terrorized, he claims, estimating that only 10% of the military supporting the war, with the majority of soldiers conversely afraid to speak out. Those who are against the war are afraid to say so, to leave, afraid of the consequences.

If he obtains refugee status, he says he wants to take action to do so. so that this war ends.

I want as few young Russian men as possible to go there and get involved in this, to know what is going on there .

Where is the war in Ukraine, six months after the Russian invasion?

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