Ukraine-Russia war LIVE – Putin's soldiers REFUSING to fight as they uncover loophole to avoid extreme punishment

Ukraine-Russia war LIVE – Putin's soldiers REFUSING to fight as they uncover loophole to avoid extreme punishment


A lawyer has claimed that Vladimir Putin's Russian soldiers have been REFUSING to fight as they have uncovered a loophole to avoid extreme punishment.

Mikhail Benyash, a lawyer who has been advising Russian soldiers has said that “hundreds and hundreds” of soldiers had been in touch with his team for advice on how they could avoid being sent to fight.

Under Russian military rules, troops who refuse to fight in Ukraine can face dismissal but cannot be prosecuted, said Benyash.

Among them were 12 national guardsmen from Russia’s southern city of Krasnodar who were fired after refusing to go to Ukraine.

“Commanders try to threaten their soldiers with prison time if they dissent, but we tell the soldiers that they can simply say no,” Benyash said, adding that he was not aware of any criminal cases against soldiers who refused to fight.

“There are no legal grounds to start a criminal case if a soldier refuses to fight while on Russian territory.”

Many soldiers, therefore, have chosen to be fired or transferred rather than going into “the meat grinder”, he said.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Milica Cosic

    Former Ukrainian ambassador says: ‘Russia wants to see us all dead’

    The former Ukrainian ambassador the EU has spoken about the difficulty of finding a compromise with Russia.

    He said: “Sooner or later all wars must be ended with a diplomatic solution,” but the “tragedy of the situation” is that Russia “wants to see us all dead and we want to survive”.

  • Milica Cosic

    UK announces MORE sanctions

    Britain has announced more Russian sanctions, including President Vladimir Putin’s ex-wife, mistress family members and inner circle.

    They have all been hit in the latest measures imposed, designed to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

    Former gymnast Alina Kabaeva – Putin's mistress – is reported to have also been hit, and has ‘a close personal relationship’ with the Russian president.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle.

    “We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

    Mr Putin’s official assets are modest, according to the Foreign Office, with his lifestyle “funded by a cabal of family, friends and elites”.

  • Milica Cosic

    EU pledges extra 500 million euros in Ukraine military aid

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday pledged an extra 500 million Euros (£426 million) in military aid for Ukraine at a meeting the Group of Seven industrialised nations in northern Germany.

    The extra cash will raise the EU's total military aid for Ukraine to two billion euros, he said. "The recipe is clear — more of the same," Borrell said, calling for allies to keep up "pressure on Russia".

  • Milica Cosic

    Moscow says EU becoming 'aggressive & militant'

    Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said he doubted the motives of Ukraine's intention of joining the European Union, while accusing Brussels of ambitions beyond the European continent.

    Ukraine, where Russia launched a military campaign on February 24, "is ready to declare a neutral, non-aligned status," Lavrov told reporters following a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe.

    "At the same time, they are trying in every possible way to emphasise their desire to become an EU member," Lavrov added.

    "There are serious doubts about how harmless such a desire is from Kyiv," he said.

    Lavrov also accused the EU of transforming from a "constructive, economic platform" into an "aggressive, militant player, declaring its ambitions far beyond the European continent", pointing to moves in the Indo-Pacific region.

    "They are rushing to follow in the tracks already laid by NATO, thereby confirming the trend that they are merging with the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) and will in fact serve as its appendage," he said.

  • Milica Cosic

    Swedish review: NATO membership would deter conflict

    Swedish membership in NATO would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe, a security policy review by parties in Sweden's parliament said Friday.

    "Swedish NATO membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a deterrent effect in northern Europe," the report presented at a press conference in Stockholm said.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukraine will fight for Snake Island

    Ukraine will fight for the remote Zmiinyi Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea “for as long as is needed”, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence said today.

    “Whoever controls the island can at any time block the movement of civilian ships in all directions to the south of Ukraine,” Kyrylo Budanov said in televised comments.

  • Milica Cosic

    Britain urges more weapons for Ukraine

    Britain has today urged more weapons for Kyiv to sustain pressure on Moscow.

    "It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on (Russian President) Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions," said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as she arrived for a second day of talks with her Group of Seven counterparts.

  • Milica Cosic

    MOD: Russian commanders being pressured into attempting risky river crossings

    The Ministry of Defence has given its daily update today and has said that Russia is investing significant effort in the vicinity of Izium and Severodonetsk in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

    The MOD says that conducting river crossings in a contested environment is highly risky and shows the pressure Russian commanders are under to make progress.

    Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances, despite concentrating forces in this area after withdrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts.

  • Milica Cosic

    Germany promises G7 show of unity against Russia

    Foreign ministers from the G7 group aim to give what Germany called a "powerful sign of unity".

    They are meeting today to discuss the war in Ukraine, fears that the conflict could spill over into Moldova, and food security concerns.

    The annual meeting running until Saturday brings together top diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union to a 400-year-old castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus.

    They will defy Russian attempts to split the world over Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said ahead of the meeting.

    "Never since the end of the Cold War have we G7 partners been more profoundly challenged. Never before have we stood more united," she said in a tweet.

  • Milica Cosic

    Russian soldier to go on trial today for war crime in Ukraine

    A Russian soldier is scheduled to go on trial today in the killing of an unarmed Ukrainian civilian.

    It will mark the first time since the start of the invasion that a member of the Russian military will be prosecuted for a war crime.

    Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin stands accused of shooting the 62-year-old man in the head through an open car window in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka.

    He faces up to life in prison under the penalties spelled out in the section of the Ukrainian criminal code.

  • Milica Cosic

    Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun's Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun's fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit

    For more information visit

  • Milica Cosic

    Putin ‘very ill with blood cancer’ claims oligarch

    VLADIMIR Putin is "very ill with blood cancer," a top oligarch has allegedly claimed, in the latest rumours about the Russian president's health.

    The Russian business leader that features in the audio recording, who is close to the Kremlin, also accuses Putin of "ruining" Russia's economy through his doomed war in Ukraine.

    In the recording, obtained by New Lines Magazine and reportedly made in mid-March, the oligarch describes Putin as "very ill with blood cancer," although it isn't clear exactly what type of cancer he has.

    He goes on: "He [Putin] absolutely ruined Russia's economy, Ukraine's economy, and many other economies – ruined absolutely.

    "The problem is with his head… One crazy guy can turn the world upside down."

    A Western venture capitalist who works with the oligarch secretly recorded the conversation and shared it on the condition that he remain anonymous.

    He said he went behind his Russian colleague's back because of his disgust at Putin's war in Ukraine.

    He has reportedly fired one of his top generals Valery Gerasimov, rightCredit: AFP
  • Louis Allwood

    WARNING – Horrifying moment Russian soldiers shoot Ukrainian civilians in the BACK

    THIS is the barbaric moment Putin's butchers slaughtered two Ukrainian civilians in cold blood as they walk away thinking they had been freed.

    Chilling CCTV footage from a car dealership outside Kyiv show how the evil soldiers shot the owner and a guard in the back following a short conversation.

    The killings – which have been branded "a possible war crime" – took place on March 16 when Russia made an initial attempt to take the city.

    The heart-breaking footage shared with CNN shows how the meeting between the invaders and the civilians at the dealership on the main road into Kyiv appears calm.

    One of the victims even puts a cigarette in his mouth in the moments after the chat, suggesting there was nothing untoward.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukrainian minister: Russian forces opened fire on civilians in Kharkiv

    Ukraine’s first deputy minister of internal affairs Yevhen Yenin has said today that Russian troops opened fire on civilians from a tank in a village in Kharkiv Oblast.

    “In one of the villages of Kharkiv region, the police established the fact that Russian servicemen, think about it, opened fire on civilians from a tank,” he said via the Telegram messaging app.

    “That’s why we don’t have to talk about any moral framework of the Russian military,” he said, according to Ukrayinska Pravda.

  • Louis Allwood

    I cannot see how we can renormalise relations with Putin – Boris Johnson

    Boris Johnson has said he cannot see how there could be a normalisation of relations with Vladimir Putin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    Asked on LBC Radio whether the Russian president could be accepted back onto the world stage again if he were to repent for the war, Johnson said: "Repentance is going to be very difficult for Vladimir Putin now… nothing is impossible, I suppose, but I just cannot see for the life of me how we can renormalise relations with Putin now."

  • Milica Cosic

    'Credible evidence' of sexual violence against CHILDREN by Putin's troops

    "CREDIBLE allegations" of sexual violence against children by Russian troops, have been recorded by a senior British diplomat.

    Dame Barbara Woodward, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, said there was evidence "Russia is committing four of the Security Council's six grave violations against children in times of war".

    Alongside the allegations of sexual violence against children, she listed other violations of UN Security Council rules on young people in wartime.

    Violations listed in a 1999 council resolution include the targeting of children in conflict as well as recruiting and using children as soldiers.

    "There is now a very real risk of a lost generation, and the continuation of a cycle of violence, caused by Russia's invasion and the devastation it has created," she said.

  • Milica Cosic

    Hello, Milica Cosic with you today. I'll be bringing you the latest news and updates on the Russia – Ukraine war.

  • Louis Allwood

    Britain will deploy soldiers if Russia ever invades Finland or Sweden

    Britain would put boots on the ground if Vladimir Putin’s Russia attempts to invade Finland or Sweden, Boris Johnson declared last night.

    The Prime Minister yesterday signed historic security treaties with both of the traditionally neutral Scandinavian countries — in a two-fingered salute to the Russian president.

    The accords were inked as Finland and Sweden mull over joining Nato amid a “new chapter of the Cold War”.

    The UK will increase troop presence in both countries and step up intelligence sharing.

    Britain will also support joint cyber attack defences, it was agreed, as the ­countries committed to backing each other at a time of war.

    On a whistle-stop tour yesterday of Stockholm and Helsinki — the capitals of Sweden and Finland — Mr Johnson said: “In the event of an attack we will come to the other’s assistance, upon request, and it will be up to the other party to say what kind of assistance they want.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia 'most direct threat to world order'

    RUSSIA is the 'most direct threat to world order', says EU's Ursula Von der Leyen.

    The European Commission President met with meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, along with European Council President Charles Michel today.

    Von der leyen said that Russia “is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its worrying pact with China”.

    Kishida, whose government has joined tough sanctions on Moscow, also said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not just a matter for Europe, but it shakes the core of the international order including Asia. This must not be tolerated”.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia responds to Finland joining Nato

    Russia has said Finland's plan to join Nato is "definitely" a threat to itself.

    They have also said that the expansion of the military bloc will not make Europe or the world more stable.

    Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the steps taken by Finland to join Nato were a cause for regret and a reason to impose a symmetrical response, Reuters news agency reports.

    He added Finland had taken "unfriendly steps" against Russia.

    Asked what form Russia's response would take, he said: "Everything will depend on how this… process of Nato expansion plays out, the extent to which military infrastructure moves closer to our borders."

  • Louis Allwood

    NATO Secretary General says Finland's membership would strengthen both parties

    NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the country's membership would strengthen both Nato and Finland itself.

    Stoltenberg said: "Should Finland decide to apply, they would be warmly welcomed into Nato, and the accession process would be smooth and swift."

    Stoltenberg adds: "Finland is one of Nato's closest partners, a mature democracy, a member of the European Union, and an important contributor to Euro-Atlantic security."

  • Louis Allwood

    Germany may be able to cope with gas boycott

    Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said Germany may be able to cope with a boycott of Russian gas imports.

    He told the WirtschaftsWoche weekly on Thursday that Berlin had stepped up efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian energy supplies.

    The minister said: "If we have full storage facilities at the turn of the year, if two of the four floating LNG (liquified natural gas) tankers we have leased are connected to the grid and if we make significant energy savings, we can to some extent get through the winter if Russian gas supplies collapse."

  • Louis Allwood

    Denmark welcomes Finland's decision to join Nato

    A number of countries have started expressing support for Finland's move to join NATO.

    Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says they will welcome Finland in Nato.

    She says the decision for Finland to join "will strengthen Nato and our common security."

    She added: "Denmark will do everything for a quick admission process after the formal application".

  • Louis Allwood

    Russian tank blows up hurling turret 250ft into the air

    Shocking video captures the moment a Russian tank is reportedly blown up, sending its turret hurtling 250ft into the air following a Ukrainian missile strike.

    The captured dashcam footage, reportedly filmed in eastern Ukraine, shows Putin's war machine exploding in an enormous fireball as it drives along a road.

    In the clip filmed from a car driving behind the tank, a huge blast erupts shortly up the road, and what appears to be a tank turret goes flying into the sky.

    A number of figures, possibly Russian soldiers, are seen desperately scrambling for cover.

    It was filmed by the Chinese state media channel Phoenix TV, which shared a clip of its journalist's close encounter with the inferno on its YouTube channel.

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelensky commends Finland

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has commended Finland for its "readiness to apply for Nato membership".

    Writing on social media just now, Zelensky said: "Had a phone conversation with President of Finland @niinisto. Commended the readiness of Finland to apply for NATO membership.

    "We also discussed Ukraine's European integration and Ukraine and Finland's defense interaction."

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