More than 100 Russian national guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine, court documents show, in what looks to be the clearest indication yet of dissent among some parts of security forces over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The cases of the 115 national guardsmen, a force also known as Rosgvardia, came to light on Wednesday, after a local Russian court rejected their collective lawsuit that challenged their earlier sacking.
The appeal took place in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian republic in the Russian Caucasus, where the unit is based.
Since Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, its military has reportedly been plagued by poor morale, with reports of soldiers claiming they did not know they were going to war until they crossed into Ukraine.
Andrei Sabinin, the lawyer who represented the 115 soldiers, said the court’s decision was “unprecedentedly quick” given the complexity of the case.
According to Sabinin, the commanders of the Rosgvardia unit offered the soldiers the option not to fight and their dismissal was illegal.
“The commander explained that all employees of the national guard and the Russian armed forces were assigned specific tasks during the special operation in Ukraine. »