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Igor Strelkov, sentenced to life in prison by Hague District Court, returns to Moscow
Igor Girkin, sentenced to life in prison by the Hague District Court for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and killing 298 passengers and crew, is in Moscow.
The former “defense minister” of the self-proclaimed “DNR” is widely known in Russia for his war commentaries, published under the assumed name “Igor Strelkov.” Today, Strelkov announced his return to Moscow, following an “unsuccessful” attempt “to take part in combat” in Ukraine.
Strelkov writes that he arrived in the Donetsk region in October, joining one of the “people’s militia” units at the rank of private. His status in the unit was dubious from the start:
I got some unofficial explanation that my “unsanctioned” participation in the DNR “people’s militia” had met with disapproval from the higher command. But they assured me that this question would be resolved over time.
Strelkov claims having served as the acting battalion chief of staff at a military training ground. In November, he spent 10 days in the zone near the Svatove frontline in the Luhansk region. When he returned to the Donetsk region, he found out that he “wasn’t listed” with his unit:
As a result, from October to late November, I was in the ranks of the N. battalion of the N. regiment illegally, carrying weapons and ammunition also illegally, and traveling illegally into the combat zone and areas adjacent to the frontline.
Strelkov accused the militia’s command for accepting his help while knowingly ignoring his illicit status. When he learned about this, he returned his weapons and went back to Moscow.
As a frequent commentator on the war in Ukraine, Igor Strelkov often criticizes the Russian command.
Last October, a number of self-styled Russian “war correspondents” announced that they were all heading to the front. The Ukrainian Defense Intelligence offered a $100,000 reward for capturing Strelkov.
In November, the Hague District Court sentenced Strelkov and two other defendants to life in prison for downing the MH17 Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur in 2014. In Ukraine, Strelkov is charged with several crimes, including terrorism and violating the rules of war.
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