A Russian Soldier Confessed To Killing A Ukrainian Civilian — So Moscow Convicted Him Of Spreading Fake News
After Russian soldiers committed multiple war crimes last year during the attack on Kyiv and the surrounding region, some confessed to their crimes. But now they are being tried in Russia for spreading misinformation about the military.
Following multiple reports of war crimes in the early weeks of the war in Ukraine, Russian soldier Daniil Frolkin was interviewed last August by Vazhnye Istorii. In the conversation with the reporter for the independent Russian media, Frolkin confessed to the murder of an unarmed civilian who Ukrainian authorities believe was a 47-year-old named Ruslan Yaremchuk.
Now this public act of truth-telling has led to Frolkin standing trial in Russia and being convicted for spreading misinformation about the Russian military.
He was found guilty and sentenced to probation, though the Russian prosecutor had asked for six years of prison. After the court proceeding Wednesday, Frolkin quickly left and refused to talk to journalists.
Why he did it
During the interview last August, after confessing to firing the fatal shots, Frolkin gave the names of the commanders who ordered infantrymen to shoot the civilians.
The soldier said he had decided to confess to the murder out of a desire to help his comrades-in-arms who he feared were about to be sent to the front line near Kherson. Frolkin believed that after his confession, they would be spared.
After the release of their reportage, Vazhnye Istorii was contacted by fellow servicemen and confirmed that the commanders had ordered the killing of civilians, as well as looting and transporting stolen goods in cars.
Upon his return to Russia, Frolkin resigned from the army but later returned to duty. He was prosecuted for spreading "fakes" about the military, in violation of a law passed in May 2022 that has resulted in more than 20 convictions in Russia.
The longest sentences under the new law have been handed out to a 23-year-old student Dmitry Ivanov and opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who are serving eight and a half years prison.
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