Russian soldier wants to testify about war crimes

A few months ago he was stationed near Bucha during the Ukrainian war, now a Russian soldier wants to serve as a witness before an international court.

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the essentials in brief

  • A deserted Russian soldier seeks asylum in Madrid.
  • He plans to testify in court as a war crimes witness.
  • Nikita Chibrin’s unit (27) was stationed near Bucha in the spring.

Nikita Chibrin (27) fought for Russia in the Ukrainian war for four months. In March, he was traveling in the Kyiv region with the 64th Independent Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, which has also been accused of war crimes.

However, Chibrin claims to have had nothing to do with the terrible events. He also never fired a gun once during the war, he tells the British “Guardian.”

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The interview is conducted by phone from the airport in the Spanish capital, Madrid. The Russian landed there last Tuesday and was immediately detained by the authorities. And there he hopes to receive political asylum.

Soldier wants to testify against war in international court

Because Chibrin left the Ukrainian war in June. He now plans to denounce what he experienced before an international court and serve as a witness to war crimes.

“I have nothing to hide,” he told The Guardian. “The war that Russia started is criminal. I want to do everything I can to stop it.”

On the first day of the invasion, February 24, he had declared to his commanders that he was against the war. “They threatened to put me in jail,” he recalls.

But instead, he was relieved of his rank as a mechanic and assigned to cleaning and hauling jobs.

In the first month of the invasion, the unit is stationed in Lypivka, 50 kilometers from Kyiv. Two towns over is Bucha, where civilians were tortured and killed by the Russians during the Ukrainian war.

According to Chibrin, he did not notice any of this. However, he reports “widespread rumors” that soldiers in his unit are responsible for rape and murder.

He also watched as the Russians ransacked Ukrainian houses. “They took everything there was,” she says. “Washing machines, electronics, everything.”

Despite the rich booty, morale was extremely low. Everyone would have found a way to leave the company. “But our commanders threatened to shoot us if we deserted.”

Escape from the Ukraine war by truck

After the Russians withdrew from the Kyiv region, Chibrin and his unit landed in Buhaivka, near Kharkiv. On June 16, he managed to flee Ukraine by hiding in a truck.

So he managed to return to Russia, after which he left the country with the help of the human rights group “Gulagu.net”. Vladimir Osechkin, the association’s leader, confirmed this to The Guardian.

Other details of Chibrins’ report could not be independently confirmed. However, he has photos showing him with his unit near Kyiv.

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