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Russian military base police detain fugitive Russian contract soldier in Armenia

Sunday, 10 December 2023, 12:37
Russian military base police detain fugitive Russian contract soldier in Armenia
Stock photo: Getty Images

Reports have emerged in Armenia indicating that police officers at the Russian military base in the city of Gyumri have detained a Russian army contract soldier who fled Russia after it had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Source: human rights activist Artur Sakunts, as reported by European Pravda, citing Radio Liberty

Details: Dmitry Setrakov, 20, had been detained on 6 or 7 December by police officers of the 102nd Russian military base, based in Gyumri. He was placed under 27-day arrest there.

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Russian military investigators initiated a criminal case against Setrakov on charges of leaving his place of service for longer than one month during mobilisation or hostilities. He faces 5-10 years in prison.

Armenian human rights activists learned about the situation from their Russian colleagues, whom Setrakov's wife contacted. She got a call from the 102nd military base and was informed that her husband had been detained.

Sakunts said Setrakov was a contract soldier, but in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he refused to serve in the Russian Armed Forces and moved to Armenia, like thousands of his compatriots.

The Russian 519th Military Investigation Department, located in Armenia, leads the investigation of his criminal case. Representatives of the Russian military base in Gyumri told Artur Sakunts that should Setrakov be found guilty, he would serve his sentence in Russia.

Artur Sakunts emphasises that the Russian military police have no right to detain a Russian citizen on the territory of Armenia as only local law enforcement agencies can do so.

Pursuant to the procedure, Russia must first contact Armenian representatives to search for the wanted citizen.

The human rights activist believes the actions of the Russian military base in this matter are illegal.

Armenian human rights activists are asking the authorities of their country not only to prevent the extradition of Dmitry Setrakov to Russia but also to initiate a criminal case "on charges of illegal actions committed by Russian military police officers on the territory of Armenia".

The 102nd Russian military base operates in the Armenian city of Gyumri.

Background: Recently, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that he sees no advantage in the protracted presence of Russian military bases in the country, as Russia has not fulfilled its alliance commitments.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has publicly criticised recent remarks by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as a "turn away from Russia".

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