Vladislav L. served.

3 years in the ranks of the Russian forces and the Ukrainian separatists during the Donbas war in 2014, before he changed his allegiance and joined the Ukrainian army, to become in a war that knows no half-loyalty, one of those lost soldiers between the two fronts that no one wants to see, neither in Kyiv nor in Moscow, To finally appear as accused of "participation in a terrorist group" before a court in the Ukrainian capital.

The story of this young man is told by the French newspaper Le Monde - in a report written by Florence Obina - starting from the outbreak of the conflict in Donbass in 2014, when Vladislav L.

(17 years old) lives with his family in one of the first villages to fall into the hands of Russian forces and Ukrainian separatists, to live with his comrades the ordeal of unemployment at the time of the collapse of coal mines and the steel industry.

When the young man reached the age of 18, a friend advised him to apply to join the seventh separatist regiment in Donetsk, to become a grenade launcher for 15,000 rubles a month (about 200 euros). After 3 years of service, he sailed to Russia in search of a new life, only to return penniless to live. With his aunt in Zaporizhia, on the banks of the Dnieper River, before the war starts there again in 2022.

Selfie in Russian military uniform

The former separatist soldier decided to return to service, but in the ranks of the pro-Ukraine this time - as the writer says - and he was enrolled in the so-called fever of registering everyone who knows shooting to defend the homeland, but his unit director found him "unstable or accepted by the forces, and tense in Shooting Range" Although he claims to be experienced, although neither he nor anyone else doubts his past, they deny him excessive drinking, and even expelled him.

After that, this young man decided to join the Azov battalion, which was famous for its bravery in the city of Mariupol in the first months of the war.

He proposed to her as an expert in throwing grenades, but when the recruiter of the Azov battalion asked him about the reason for this choice, he proudly pulled out his phone to show on the screen his "experience in the units on the other side" and his personal photos in Russian uniform, his military card and his own unit filmed at the training camp in Toritsk Donbass, for the official to immediately contact the unit of the Security Service of Ukraine.

In court, a lawyer asked his young client: Were you not afraid of arrest by revealing your past? He replied, "I wanted to pay for my guilt by being drafted in Azov. I was always in Ukraine, but that's what happened." Vladislav L.

himself with his toolkit, as the laptop and its contents are the main physical evidence in the case.

Propaganda war

In a small courtroom, the audience present does not exceed one female journalist, because almost all of those arrested in this context are held "in secret", although the sessions are in principle public.

Twenty of Ukraine's largest NGOs have launched a petition demanding transparency in court decisions, especially in cases that would harm the national image such as corruption and treason, and they denounce the "hiding of information" that does not "in any way contribute to the victory of Ukraine, because it undermines the confidence of The public is endowed with power, despite its extreme importance during the war.

As for the trial of Vladislav L.

It was a message from the Ukrainian security services on their Facebook account that led to their publicity, as the State Security Department announced in September 2022 that it had arrested a "Russian agent who was trying to infiltrate our lines," but the defense smashed the charge of "treason" as The lawyers explained that the accused revealed his background in Donbass.

Theoretically - as the author says - Vladislav L.

As part of a prisoner-of-war exchange, Moscow no longer wants to hear about those Ukrainians who switch sides when they are captured, and only accepts negotiations for "real Russians".