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

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Pavel Filatiev, a Russian who spent two months fighting in Ukraine before denouncing Moscow’s offensive on social media, asked for political asylum in France to avoid Russian justice. The 34-year-old soldier arrived in Roissy, northeast of Paris, on Sunday from Tunisia, and on Monday held meetings with officials from the French Cabinet for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra, in French).

Pavel Filatiev’s journey began in early August, when he posted a lengthy text on the social network VKontakte condemning the state of Russian troops and the war in Ukraine. Last year, the paratrooper signed up for the 56th Airborne Regiment, based in Crimea, and retired from the army some time ago.

“When I learned that the command asked to sentence him to fifteen years in prison for false information [contra o Exército russo]I realized that I won’t get anything here [na Rússia] and that my lawyers can’t do anything for me,” Pavel Filatiev told AFP at the reception desk for asylum seekers in Roissy.

A publication called ZOV, which means “call” in Russian and at the same time refers to the letters painted on Russian tanks in Ukraine, criticizes Moscow’s offensive launched on February 24. “We did not have the moral right to attack another country, which is the people closest to us”refers in his text to this soldier, also the son of a soldier who served in the same regiment.

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Filatiev portrays the fragmented, ill-equipped and untrained Russian army, “in the same state that Russia has become in recent years.”

“From year to year, slovenliness and corruption become more and more latent. Corruption, disorder, I don’t care, but they were out of bounds,” he stressed, meaning that he quickly gave up after signing a contract with the Russian Army. However, he did not resign and was thrown to the front line as soon as the Kremlin launched a “special military operation.” In his regiment, he went first to Kherson, then to Nikolaev, two cities on the Black Sea coast.

“If the army in peacetime was already disorganized and corrupted, then it is obvious that during the war, the struggle, the lack of professionalism will become even more noticeable,” he argued, believing that the Russian government played an important role “in the destruction of the Army inherited from the USSR “.

After two months of fighting, during which he ensures that his regiment did not participate in any attacks on civilians or prisoners, Pavel Filatiev was eventually recalled from the front due to an infection in his right eye and hospitalized in Sevastopol, Crimea.

At the time, the Russian military was trying to terminate the contract for health reasons, but his superiors asked him to return to the front, threatening to open an investigation if he did not. In early August, Pavel Filatiev leaves Crimea and publishes his text on the Internet.

Since then, he has been traveling from city to city in Russia to avoid detection until he leaves the country.

“Why am I telling all this in detail? I want people in Russia and around the world to understand how this war happened, why people continue to wage it. Not because they [soldados] want to fight, because they are in such conditions that it is very difficult to leave, ”the Russian also emphasized in his publication.

Filatiev says that if he gets refugee status, he wants to act “so that this war ends.”

“I want as few young Russians as possible to go to war and participate in it, because they know what is happening there,” he concluded.

The military offensive launched by Russia on February 24 in Ukraine has already caused nearly 13 million people to flee — more than six million internally displaced people and almost seven million to neighboring countries, according to the latest UN figures. the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented 5,663 civilian deaths and 8,055 war-wounded as confirmed, stressing that these numbers are far below reality.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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