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Ukrainian servicemen fear for relatives after returning from Russia

August 05, 2014, 15:33 UTC+3 5 5/8

All who returned from Russia are removed from service, the soldier says

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© ITAR-TASS / Alexander Rumin

ZAPOROZHYE, August 05./ITAR-TASS/. One of Ukrainian servicemen who crossed into Russia in late July and returned to Ukraine told ITAR-TASS by telephone on condition of anonymity that he feared for his relatives.

He is one of soldiers from Ukrainian Motorized Brigade 51, sent to fight in eastern Ukraine. Wounded, he crossed into Russia. After medical treatment in Russia, he returned to Ukraine.

"Immediately after arriving at a military base in Zaporozhye, we were questioned for more than 10 hours. Criminal cases were opened on desertion charges. An investigation is underway now. We are accused of disobeying a military order and leaving military vehicles and arms to the enemy," the soldier said.

"All who returned from Russia are removed from service. The worst thing is that they threaten with great problems for our relatives and friends. They prohibit calling them. Draftees are controlled particularly tightly to prevent them from informing their mothers about anything," he said.

"Two of those who had returned attempted to run out, but they were taken back in two days. They were beaten up within an inch of their lives. As was said they were caught by police, and then local Right Sector activists appeared at the police station and beat them. We were said that the two guys were recruited by Russians. For what purpose to recruit them? A gunner and a driver. For what are they needed? They had already suffered. They survived and returned alive by a miracle."

The Ukrainian soldier was pessimistic about the fate of all those who returned from Russia to the native land. "Ukrainian Security Service officers press us. Several interrogations a day and sometimes at night. They constantly say about relatives. 'Tell the truth or you will not see them'.

"All who have returned do not want to serve any longer. They have handed in their resignation and asked to leave them. The next day, security service offices tore the resignation papers at our presence. I do not know how it will end. It may sound strange, but I envy those who have got in militia captivity, but not returned from Russia, as we did.

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