Day: July 2, 2009

Russian soldier defects to Georgia


A Russian soldier has abandoned his military unit in breakaway South Ossetia to seek asylum in Georgia – the second case of this type in less than six months.

The Russian Defense Ministry, according to Interfax, has confirmed that one of its soldiers serving in South Ossetia deserted his unit.

The serviceman, identified as Dmitry Artemiev, told Georgian journalists on July 2 that he deserted a post in the village of Perevi on the western part of South Ossetia’s administrative border.

The solder, standing outside the UN refugee agency’s Tbilisi office told journalists that he had been “treated very badly and was beaten” in his unit.  

In January Russian serviceman, Alexandr Glukhov, also deserted his military unit in South Ossetia and defected to Georgia.

In June Lieutenant Alik Bzhania, who served in the Georgian coast guard, appeared on the Moscow-based radio station, Echo Moskvy, and announced that he had fled Georgia to seek political asylum in Russia.