Rosgwardia is often referred to as “Putin’s Private Army”.

  • More than 100 members of Russia’s Rosgwardia were expelled for disobeying orders to fight in Ukraine.
  • They filed a class action suit to challenge their expulsion as unlawful, but it was dismissed.
  • Their lawyer said their commanders gave them the option not to fight, according to The Guardian.

According to several media reports, more than 100 soldiers of the Russian National Guard were dismissed for disobeying orders to fight in Ukraine.

The Guardian reported that 115 of the National Guard were part of Rosgardia, a force separate from the military often used by the Kremlin as an internal security force to combat terrorism and suppress dissent.

The dismissal of 115 guardsmen was announced on 25 May after a Russian military court rejected their lawsuit to challenge their dismissal. In a ruling posted online last week, the judge ruled that the soldiers had been properly discharged.

The court said the soldiers “refused to carry out an official mission” and returned to a duty station instead of carrying out their orders in Ukraine, according to the Guardian.

The independent local channel “Moscow Times” reported that Russia held the session behind closed doors to prevent “military secrets” from being leaked.

Andrei Sabinin, a lawyer representing 115 soldiers, told The Guardian that National Guardsmen are not allowed to call some witnesses and that the court rejected the documents.

He also said that commanders gave the men the option not to fight by their commanders in Rosjavardia, making their dismissals illegal.

This is not the first time that members of Rosgwardia have been punished for refusing to join the war in Ukraine. In another case, 12 National Guard men were fired for the same reason in March.

According to Reuters, the 12 men said they did not have passports and were afraid to do something illegal in Ukraine.

Rosgvardia is often referred to as President Vladimir Putin’s “private army” because it was created in 2016 to serve the Russian leader as a kind of imperial guard for the ancient Roman Empire.

This year, the Moscow Times reported that their numbers reached up to 340,000 in 84 units, citing the claims of National Guard commander Viktor Zolotov. Force has been used before to enforce the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Guard’s refusal to fight fits with a consistent pattern of reports that Russian forces’ morale has plummeted since the early weeks of the war in Ukraine. Some Russian soldiers reportedly did not know they were going to fight in Ukraine or why Russia invaded Ukraine, according to their families and footage from Ukraine.

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