A Bishkek court has sentenced a Kyrgyz man to 10 years in prison for fighting in Ukraine on the side of Russian forces, a ruling that comes as Moscow tries to recruit more ex-Soviet Central Asians..
In recent months, dozens of citizens of these countries have been killed in Ukraine, according to local media. The overwhelming majority of these were fighting in the ranks of the Russian army or in the ranks of Wagner, the Russian irregular military group.
In a ruling issued on Tuesday evening, a court in the capital, Bishkek, found the 31-year-old accused guilty of mercenary and sentenced him to 10 years in prison..
The convict, who denies taking part in the fighting, stayed in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine between June and November on a monthly salary of 180,000 rubles (about 2,000 euros) and a promise to obtain a Russian passport, according to the court..
This unemployed man, who hails from Jalalabad province (southwest), was in Moscow when he joined the forces of the “Luhansk People’s Republic”, the separatist entity located in eastern Ukraine and loyal to Russia, which declared its independence before Russia annexed it to its lands..
This is the first conviction issued in Kyrgyzstan against a citizen on charges of mercenary in Ukraine, said Gulshire Abdul Rasulova, head of the Kyrgyz human rights organization “Kilim Shami”, told AFP on Wednesday..