Russian sergeant reports bad conduct discharge over refusal to fight in Donbas

Senior Sergeant Vladimir Marchukov has filed a complaint to the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation in which he claimed being discharged from the army due to his refusal to fight against Ukrainians in Donbas.

Marchukov served as a contract soldier in the 536th separate coastal missile and artillery brigade, military unit Nr 10544, Murmansk region. According to him, in January 2015, the soldiers of the brigade were threatened with dismissal in case of their refusal to be involved in the conflict in the east of Ukraine.

Several servicemen gave an outright denial while 56 comrades of them opted for going to the village of Sputnik near Murmansk. There they took part in military retraining and mastered new skills. Later, Lieutenant Colonel Vyacheslav Okanev arrived and spoke with the military about ‘entering the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to provide direct assistance there. It is to be recalled that in February 2015 an assault on Ukraine’s Debaltseve was in progress.

Marchukov states that his commanders added a number of non-existing punishment to his conduct card, which he successfully contested in the military prosecutor’s office.

The sergeant was dismissed from the armed forces on November 10, after a re-certification procedure which he called ‘window dressing’. According to unit commander Yury Ryazantsev, the reason for dismissal was the fact that Marchukov was caught drunk driving in December 2015. Marchukov admitted the fact, but said he had paid a fine soon after the violation.

According to Mr Ryazantsev, not a single contract soldier had ever left for Donbas. The same was reported by the Department of Information and Communications of Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

In February 2015, the situation was covered by Interestingly, the paper published a transcript of Lieutenant Colonel Vyacheslav Okanev’s recorded speech.

“Well, no one has officially declared war against anyone. But we should help [separatist republics] for all human, ethical, military and every other reasons,” he told the military. following,

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