Twelve Chechen soldiers serving in Russian Defense Ministry units at a base in Khankala, east of Grozny, have been dismissed for refusing to deploy to Syria, the local news portal Caucasian Knot has reported.
According to Caucasian Knot, a unit of 500 troops was to be deployed to Syria to serve as military police. The 12 men who refused to deploy were all residents of Chechnya. As a result, their military contracts were ended prematurely.
Caucasian Knot reported that the unit included Chechens, residents of the neighboring republic Dagestan, as well as Russians.
Last week, a video taken by one of the soldiers showed his unit preparing for the upcoming deployment to Syria.
On Tuesday, the news agency Rosbalt reported that a criminal case had been initiated against five of the unit’s personnel, including one officer.
The charges accuse that the unit’s command of failing to properly brief their subordinates. As a result, one member made the video and distributed it across social networks.
According to the court, the video “endangered the lives of the troops, by betraying information about their movements.”