A soldier appeared on Georgian national television to ask for political asylum Thursday, becoming the second Russian soldier to do so this year.
Private Dmitry Artemyev told Rustavi-2 television that he had fled his military unit stationed in the South Ossetian village of Perevi because of hazing and unbearable living conditions and asked the United Nations office in Georgia for help.
. . . .
Another Russian soldier, Private Alexander Glukhov, deserted his military unit in South Ossetia in January for similar reasons and has been granted asylum in Georgia. That case prompted a war of words between Russia and Georgia, whose relations remain strained after a brief war last August.
Last month, Georgian Lieutenant Alik Bzhania deserted his unit and surfaced in Moscow, requesting asylum because he feared renewed fighting.
This one should be of special interest to Canadians. From Courage To Resist:
"There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect." The words were scrawled in black ink on the bottom of a military counseling statement, a routine piece of paperwork turned in May 1st to the commander of a Ft. Hood, Texas Army unit headed for Afghanistan. It was signed Victor Agosto, U.S. Army.
Agosto is publicly refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan. Having served in the Army since 2005, including a tour in Iraq, Agosto can no longer bear to serve and says that he is, "ready for the consequences, whatever they are." Since May 11th, he has been refusing all orders directly connected to his unit's deployment to Afghanistan, including an order to track the serial numbers of trucks headed for Afghanistan. He has since been assigned to non-deployment tasks such as sweeping the motor pool and "company area beautification" as he waits to see what the military will do to him.
Agosto's refusal comes as the first waves of troops are being shipped to Afghanistan under the Obama Administration's recent escalation. President Obama has ordered 21,000 more troops to deploy to Afghanistan this summer, seeking to more than double the 32,000 deployed to 68,000 in the next few months.
There is scant evidence about how the troops themselves feel about this escalation. The most recent study, a 2006 Zogby poll for Iraq, found that 72% of all U.S. troops there thought the U.S. should immediately withdraw. Many of those same troops are now being asked to fight in Afghanistan.
Go here to see Victor Agosto's statement. There's also a link to donate to his legal defense fund.
Every soldier who chooses to resist an immoral war is one more voice for peace.