Jul 21, 2023 at 2:08 PMUpdate: 6 minutes ago
Igor Girkin, the Russian former soldier who was convicted by the Netherlands for downing flight MH17, has been arrested by the Russian authorities. It is still unknown why. He would have been critical of the course of the war in Ukraine.
Girkin’s lawyer confirms the arrest following a message from his wife that circulated on Telegram. “I don’t know my husband’s whereabouts. He hasn’t contacted me.”
She would have understood from friends that Girkin is accused of extremism. Girkin is said to have been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s regime lately. He criticized Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over the conduct of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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In one of his most recent social media posts, he called for Putin’s departure. “This country will not survive another six years with this cowardly mediocrity in power.” Earlier this year, Girkin announced that he wanted to go into politics.
According to the Belarusian opposition channel Nexta, someone from the Wagner Group filed a complaint against Girkin this week. Girkin is said to have collected donations for the mercenary army, but the proceeds would not have reached Wagner.
Girkin sentenced to life imprisonment in the Netherlands
Girkin is wanted internationally for his role in the downing of flight MH17. The 298 occupants of a Boeing 777 were killed. 196 of them were Dutch.
In November, he and two other Russians were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Dutch judge for the murder of 298 occupants. The judge considered him, as the highest-ranking soldier, ultimately responsible for the crash. But because Russia does not extradite any nationals to the Netherlands, the trio escaped punishment.
Girkin, also known by the pseudonym Igor Strelkov, was a colonel of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. He was also involved in the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the uprising of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.