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General Alexander Lapin personally threatened retreating conscripts with a pistol
Colonel General Alexander Lapin, commander of the Russian army group Center in Ukraine, used a pistol to personally threaten the commander of a mobilized unit, which retreated from the front lines without orders. One conscript from Moscow spoke about it as part of an official complaint, reports outlet Sota. The publication didn’t name the man but writes that they know his name, and that they have copies of his complaint and his call-up papers, which he sent the outlet.
The Moscow resident was mobilized on September 22, and was already in Ukraine on October 7. According to Sota, he received a rusty gun and no training “apart from one day of shooting practice.” He and his fellow conscripts were sent to an area near the city of Svatove in the annexed Luhansk region. They were under fire for at least a day and a half, as a result of which no fewer than 10 men were killed. The Moscow man and his fellow conscripts decided to retreat to Svatove to get new orders.
“Since there were no officers or command, we set ourselves the task of finding headquarters and asking about further actions. We were standing at a refueling station when Colonel General Lapin came up to us with his personal security detail. When he found out about the situation with the retreat, he held his pistol to Lieutenant V’s head, the commander of the fifth company, and ordered us to go back [to the front]. He also addressed a number of insults at us (traitors, deserters, and a lot of more offensive words),” says the complaint.
Lapin later left and the mobilized men spoke with a Colonel Rumyantsev. The conscripts asked him for food and water, to which he apparently replied “roadkill like you shouldn’t eat, or drink, or sleep.” He sent the conscripts to sleep in the forest, returned the next morning (drunk, according to the formal complaint), and again started “using offensive language and humiliating [us] verbally.” That day he sent the conscripts food and water, and later the same day they were collected and taken “to the Russian border near Belgorod.”
According to Sota, the man is now on a unit in Belgorod, where he and other service members are under pressure to return to the front. His wife has complained to the military prosecutor and the Commissioner for Human Rights. The woman is raising two young children alone and counting on her husband’s return.
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Alexander Lapin is the commander of the Central Military District and the army group Center, which captured the Luhansk region.
In the Spring of 2022, he attracted journalists’ attention for honoring his own son for the “liberation” of the Chernihiv region on the same day that Russia announced its retreat from the border there.
In the summer, Vladimir Putin awarded Lapin the title Hero of Russia. According to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the award was based on the capture of Lysychansk, although in Kadyrov’s words “he was in fact not anywhere around there.”
In early October, after the Russian retreat from Lyman, in the northern Donetsk region, not far from the borders of the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, Kadyrov criticized the general, calling him “talentless.”
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