Many Russian men who fled Russia over the Ukraine mobilization went to Kazakhstan and other neighboring countries, often waiting in line for long periods to get across the border. (file photo)
An officer with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who fled to Kazakhstan to avoid Moscow's military mobilization for the war in Ukraine is in custody and faces deportation from the Central Asian nation.
According to Siberian journalist Yevgenia Baltatarova, who is currently based in Kazakhstan, 36-year-old Major Mikhail Zhilin managed to send his wife and children to Kazakhstan after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in September to beef-up his armed forces as they suffered setbacks from the strong resistance being put up by Ukraine's military.
Zhilin had to cross the border illegally as he knew that, as an FSB officer, he would not be allowed to leave the country. He asked for political asylum, but his request was rejected by Kazakh authorities and he was arrested, Baltatarova added in a Telegram post on December 8.
Baltatarova said that Zhilin, who fled his country along with hundreds of thousands of other men who were worried about the mobilization, now faces possible extradition to Russia, where he is wanted on a charge of desertion.
"In Russia, Mikhail will face a lengthy prison term or service in the death battalions [of private Vagner mercenary group that recruits inmates for the war in Ukraine]," Baltatarova wrote.
Kazakhstan's Migration Service has refused to give any information on Zhilin's case to RFE/RL. It has requested that written questions be sent to it.
Many Russian men who fled Russia over the mobilization went to Kazakhstan and other neighboring countries.
Kazakh Interior Minister Marat Akhmetzhanov said at the time that the Central Asian nation would extradite only those Russian citizens who are added to Russia's wanted list.