ODESSA, July 27. /TASS/. Two soldiers have been sentenced to two years in prison in Odessa for refusing to fight in the Donbas region, the press service of the Military Prosecutor's Office of Southern region of Ukraine reported on Monday. The corresponding decision was made by the Odessa region’s Court of Appeals that overturned the verdict of the first-instance court.
"Both soldiers openly refused to do military service when their unit was fulfilling combat tasks in the area of the anti-terrorist operation. They were previously given two years’ suspended sentence with one-year probation. The new sentence gives them two years’ imprisonment. Both the soldiers after the pronouncement of the sentence were taken into custody in the courtroom," says the document, quoted on Monday by the Timer news portal of Odessa.
Almost half of Odessa conscripts have refused to fight in Donbas. "During the country’s three mobilization waves, about 6,000 people have been called up for military service. More than 2,500 dodged conscription," deputy chief enlistment officer of the Odessa region Valery Ishchenko said. According to him, about 900 cases on bringing the "draft dodgers" to criminal responsibility have been filed to the law enforcement agencies.
Last autumn, a wave of protests against the mobilization swept through the region - the protesters were blocking highways, setting military enlistment offices on fire and issuing threats to their staff, destroying military subpoenas. Thousands of people participated in the protest rallies, they adopted at their gatherings appeals to the country’s leadership with a demand to stop the war and find a peaceful way out of the Donbass standoff.