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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2nd Soldier Asks Georgia For Asylum

ReutersArtemyev

A soldier appeared on Georgian national television to ask for political asylum Thursday, becoming the second Russian soldier to do so this year.

Private Dmitry Artemyev told Rustavi-2 television that he had fled his military unit stationed in the South Ossetian village of Perevi because of hazing and unbearable living conditions and asked the United Nations office in Georgia for help.

A senior Russian military official confirmed to RIA-Novosti that Artemyev had been hazed by fellow soldiers who were natives of the North Caucasus.

Russia’s Defense Ministry was holding talks with Georgia over the possible return of Artemyev to his military unit, Interfax reported.

The Union of Soldiers’ Mothers Committees, a nongovernmental organization that monitors soldiers’ rights, has received “a lot” of complaints in the past several weeks from Russian soldiers stationed in South Ossetia about violations of their rights by their commanders, the group’s head, Valentina Melnikova, told Interfax on Thursday.

Another Russian soldier, Private Alexander Glukhov, deserted his military unit in South Ossetia in January for similar reasons and has been granted asylum in Georgia. That case prompted a war of words between Russia and Georgia, whose relations remain strained after a brief war last August.

Last month, Georgian Lieutenant Alik Bzhania deserted his unit and surfaced in Moscow, requesting asylum because he feared renewed fighting.