Update your Cookie Settings to use this feature.
Click 'Allow All' or just activate the 'Targeting Cookies'
By continuing you accept Avaaz's Privacy Policy which explains how your data can be used and how it is secured.
Got it
Request to create shelters for Russian deserters and soldiers who surrender to Ukrainians

Request to create shelters for Russian deserters and soldiers who surrender to Ukrainians

1 have signed. Let's get to
50 Supporters


Complete your signature

By continuing you agree to receive Avaaz emails. Our Privacy Policy will protect your data and explains how it can be used. You can unsubscribe at any time. If you are under 13 years of age in the USA or under 16 in the rest of the world, please get consent from a parent or guardian before proceeding.
This petition has been created by Yulia K. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Yulia K.
started this petition to
European Parliament
We, the undersigned European and World citizens, submit a request to the European Union to create refugee camps, shelters for Russian soldiers who surrender, or willing to retain from the army to no longer take part in the unprecedented aggression on the sovereign Ukraine and are stuck in conflict with their convictions.

Creating refugee camps for Russian deserters will be an action forging peace and aiming at mitigation of the impact of the war in three ways: each deserter is one soldier less in the Russian army, means several Ukrainian lives saved, and each deserter is a saved human life.

The idea has started with discussions amongst a group of friends, devastated by the situation in the Ukraine. We asked ourselves how to mitigate the impact of war and reduce the loss of innocent lives, especially seeing videos of Russian soldiers in social media asking Ukrainians for forgiveness, asking for help to get them out of this madness. We had this idealistic thought that Europe should give them shelter and then we observed on Twitter, Facebook and different press releases, that there are a lot of people with similar ideas ex.:

- Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, quotes Latvian artist Aigaras Bikses on his Twitter with his “out of the box” idea on Feb 26th which can be put in short as follows: Western countries should give asylum to those Russian soldiers, who surrender.

- Radoslaw Sikorski, Polish politician and journalist who is Member of European Parliament twitted on March 2nd: “ Let us strategically use the EU's soft power, Ursula @vonderleyen. We can offer every defecting Russian soldier €3000 and a 3 year work permit. The way West Germany welcomed East Germans crossing the Wall. Ready to back you in @Europarl_EN. I mean it.”

This request to the European Parliament becomes urgent today and has all its importance, seeing the headlines that Ukrainian Defense Ministry is giving Russian soldiers an ultimatum:
- "Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Renikov called on the Russians to surrender in exchange for an amnesty and 5 million rubles. Those who continue to attack Ukraine will be treated without mercy." "WPROST", Feb 28th ("Polish weekly magazine")

Our question is:
Where are these soldiers supposed to go?! They cannot return home, as there is criminal liability for desertion: According to Article 338 of the Penal Code, amended by Russian Federal Law No. 26-FZ of March 7, 2011. Desertion:
- "Desertion with a weapon entrusted to the service, as well as desertion committed by a group of persons by mutual agreement or by an organized group, shall be punishable by a custodial sentence not exceeding ten years ". Meanwhile, we cannot be sure that the above rule would be followed. Potential deserters could find themselves in much worse circumstances given the every day’s violation of human rights by current regime in Russia.

We call on the European Parliament to ask the European Commission and its Member States to create shelters where these deserters would be safe: a roof, a bed, food, physical and psychological care.

By accepting deserters under its protection, the European Union and its Member States should commit themselves that at the end of the conflict, it will conduct negotiations with the Russian government on the amnesty from the penalty of the "crime of desertion ". In the event of disagreement, the European Union declares itself ready to give former Russian soldiers permanent asylum and the status of political refugees (as suggested by Radoslaw Sikorski on March 2nd).

We searched legal advice from a lawyer specialised in military criminal law and he answered that there are different conventions and laws available, that the negotiations can be based on, like a special note of Article 338 of the Penal Code:
- "A soldier who has committed desertion for the first time, under the conditions provided in the first part of this article, may be exonerated from his criminal liability if the desertion resulted from a combination of difficult circumstances."

Exoneration from the "crime of desertion", becomes realistic, in case of the government change in Russia by the end of the conflict, especially if current government was charged with the crime of aggression and crime of war. "(…) under international law, the Russian President is liable for those charges. (French lawyer Emmanuel Daoud for Le Monde journal, 1st mars).

Shelters should be created as a matter of urgency and be accompanied with the greatest possible media coverage in order to give the Russian soldiers information and the courage to desert, and consequently by attenuating the Russian brigades.

For the time being, the choice of a Russian soldier is either to continue to attack the Ukrainians and hope that the end of the war comes before he dies or to allow himself to be killed by the Ukrainians, or to surrender and answer in front of the Russian court for the "crime of desertion".

A simple aisle, letting former Russian soldiers free mobility in European countries, may cause a lot of legal and security questions that we are aware of: what if current regime in Russia uses aisle possibility for Russians as an opportunity to send spies to Europe, what if some imposters present themselves only to migrate and to pretend to be deserters, what if war criminals ask for aisle… ? The shelter camps would protect against those potential risks.

That is why the deserter shelters would and should be an answer to this emergency situation. A solution to save human lives, weaken the Russian army by numbers but also and notably morally. It would, in the long run, give time to analyse each former-soldiers situation and find the best solutions for the future .

With this request we want the European Union to give alternative and provide protection to all those soldiers who wish to get out of this conflict in the most peaceful way possible, hoping and believing that by the end of the war they will go back home, back to their families .

We call for your support of this petition, you the world citizens and we ask for media dissemination to all of you and particularly to the public figures: politicians, artists, journalists...
Posted (Updated )