KEY POINTS

  • Russian soldiers were promised leave and the opportunity to leave the war after three months of service: Report
  • Soldiers who wrote refusal letters after three months were detained
  • The Russian military blamed 'Luhansk militants' for capturing and torturing soldiers

Russian soldiers who refuse to join the war in Ukraine are being held “in custody,” tortured and forced by their own military to return to the frontlines, according to a new report.

Russian soldiers were initially promised leaves and the opportunity to refuse to fight in the war after three months of service. However, when the soldiers decided to leave Ukraine, they were captured and taken to the temporarily occupied city of Bryanka in the Ukrainian Luhansk region where they were detained for more than a month, The Insider reported.

“Won back three months, they had to go home. They were deployed from the direction of Lugansk and taken there. They put me in the prosecutor's office, where the Luhansk military are dealing with Russian soldiers who have written a refusal to war. These people are holding them there because they refused,” the father of a detained Russian soldier told the publication.

The father added that the Russian army denied any involvement in the detention of soldiers who refused to participate in the war and blamed “Luhansk militants” for capturing and torturing Russian troops.

The International Business Times could not independently verify the report.

Similar accounts of Russian soldiers being detained for refusing to continue fighting in the war have been reported over the past month. In late July, independent news outlet Verstka said that at least 234 Russian soldiers who were deployed to various locations in Ukraine were now being held in basements and garages in the Ukrainian town of Bryanka.

Vasily, the father of a Russian soldier identified only as Alexander, said his son called him on July 8 to announce that he and several of his comrades had submitted refusal letters. Vasily said Alexander was later summoned by a Russian general to discuss his decision to quit the war.

Several days later, Alexander called Vasily to tell him that he and other soldiers who tried to leave the war were being held in a basement in Bryanka.

As of July 20, Alexander was still believed to be in the basement.

Fatima, the mother of another Russian soldier, told Verstka that her son and others who announced their desire to leave the war were being held in a basement with no access to electricity, food and water. The soldier’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

Ukrainian soldiers inspect a destroyed warehouse reportedly targeted by Russian troops on outskirts of eastern Lysychansk
Ukrainian soldiers inspect a destroyed warehouse reportedly targeted by Russian troops on outskirts of eastern Lysychansk AFP / ARIS MESSINIS
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