Russian soldier who fought in Ukraine and criticized Moscow seeks asylum in France

Pavel Filatiev, a Russian who fought in Ukraine for two months before Moscow condemned the attack on social media, has sought political asylum in France to escape Russian justice. The 34-year-old soldier arrived from Tunisia on Sunday in Roissy, northeast of Paris, and on Monday held meetings with French cabinet officials on the protection of refugees and stateless persons (Afra, in French).

Pavel Filatiev’s journey began in early August, when he published a long speech on the social network Vkontakte in which he condemned the position of Russian troops and the war in Ukraine. The paratrooper joined the Crimea-based 56th Airborne Regiment last year and left the army a short time ago.

“When I learned that the command was asking him to be sentenced to fifteen years in prison for false information [contra o Exército russo]I understand that I will not get anything here [na Rússia] And my lawyers can’t do anything for me,” Pavel Filatiev told AFP in an interview from the waiting room for asylum seekers in Rosy.

Titled “ZOV”, which means “invitation” in Russian, while referring to letters painted on Russian tanks in Ukraine, it criticized the offensive launched by Moscow on February 24. “We have no moral right to attack another country whose people are closest to us.”A soldier’s son who served in the same regiment also mentions this soldier in his text.

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Filatiev depicts a fragmented, poorly armed and ill-trained Russian army “in the same condition as Russia has been in recent years”.

“Year by year, laziness and corruption have disappeared more and more. Corruption, disorganization, I don’t care, but they exceed acceptable limits”, he insisted, which he quickly abandoned after signing a contract. Russian army. However, he did not resign and was thrown to the front line as the Kremlin moved forward with a “special military operation”. In his regiment, he went first to Kherson, and then to Mykolaiv, two cities on the shores of the Black Sea.

“If in times of peace the army is already disorganized and corrupt, in times of war and struggle, the lack of professionalism is even more visible”, he believed, and the Russian government played an important role. In the destruction of the army derived from the Soviet Union”.

After two months of fighting, in which he ensured that his regiment did not participate in attacks against civilians or prisoners, Pavel Filativ was eventually withdrawn from the front due to an infection in his right eye and hospitalized in Sevastopol, Crimea.

At the time, the Russian military tried to terminate the contract on health grounds, but his hierarchy told him to return to the front, threatening to open an investigation if he didn’t. In early August, Pavel Filative leaves Crimea and publishes his speech on the Internet.

From then on, he moves from city to city in Russia to avoid detection until he flees the country.

“Why am I detailing all this? I want people in Russia and around the world to understand how this war happened and why people continue to fight. It’s not because of them. [soldados] To fight, because they are in such a situation, it is very difficult to leave”, the Russian highlighted in his publication.

Filativ says he wants to work “to make sure this war ends” if he gets refugee status.

“I want as few young Russians as possible to go to war and get involved, because they know what’s going on there,” he concluded.

The military offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24 has already displaced nearly 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and nearly seven million to neighboring countries – according to the latest UN data. , ranks this refugee crisis. Worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

The Russian invasion — justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the need to “denazify” and militarize Ukraine for Russia’s security — was condemned by the generality of the international community, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN confirmed 5,663 civilian deaths and 8,055 wounded in the war, stressing that these numbers are much lower than the actual number.

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