Russian police officers convicted of murder released to fight in Ukraine — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Russian police officers convicted of murder released to fight in Ukraine

Two former Russian policemen convicted of murder have been released from prison to fight in Ukraine after signing contracts with Russia’s Defence Ministry, independent Siberian news outlet Lyudi Baykala reported on Friday.

In April 2023, a court in the city of Ulan-Ude, in Buryatia, in Russia’s Far East, sentenced Yevgeny Inkin and Dmitry Istomin to 17 and 18 years in prison respectively for the 2002 murders of two young women.

On the night of 10 August 2002, the police officers were drinking with 17-year-old Yevegnia Shekunova, 18-year-old Yekaterina Pateyuk and 15-year-old Yekaterina Ponomaryova when a fight broke out, leading the police officers to kill Shekunova and Pateyuk with an axe.

Ponomaryova, the sole survivor, said the fight had started over a joke Pateyuk made about having a sexually transmitted disease. Independent news outlet Mediazona wrote that Inkin became angry because he had had sex with Pateyuk.

Ponomaryova said she then “heard Shekunova and Pateyuk screaming”. She also said that a few months after the murders, Inkin had tried to drown her with another policeman who had also been present on the night of the murders.

The case remained unsolved until Ponomaryova chose to break her silence about the attacks in 2019.

The Russian Defence Ministry has increasingly relied on prisoners and criminals to support its war machine, a practice that has seen dozens of violent criminals reoffend upon completion of their military service.

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