Slovak citizen fighting for Russia surrenders to Ukrainian forces

Aleksandr Kachura and as Jaroslav Halaichik
Aleksandr Kachura and as Jaroslav Halaichik

A Slovak citizen who volunteered to fight on Russia’s side has surrendered to Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian journalist Aleksandr Kachura reported on June 1.

Kachura posted a video of him interviewing the prisoner-of-war on his Facebook page. The Slovak was apparently captured near Lyman, Donetsk Oblast.

The man identified himself as Jaroslav Halaichik and stated that he is a citizen of the Slovak Republic.

Kachura noted that the prisoner was a medic responsible for evacuating the wounded. However, after sustaining a concussion, he moved towards Ukrainian positions and found an empty trench.

“He was hiding there, but an FPV drone struck the trench, concussing him again,” said Kachura.

“He moved forward and stumbled into Ukrainian positions instead of the Russian ones.”

Read also: Contrary to Russian claims, Ukraine did not halt POW swaps

It’s unclear when Halaichik arrived at the front. Prior to that, he was in occupied Luhansk, where he assisted with military logistics.

"He claimed he did not participate in combat; however, as a contract soldier, he was sent to the front and later found himself [participating] in an offensive," Kachura added.

According to the journalist, Halaichik had signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Reportedly, he was recruited into an international unit alongside Indian, Nepalese, and Mongolian nationals.

The POW said he does not want to return to Russia and would prefer to serve a prison sentence in Slovakia for fighting in a foreign military. In Slovakia, unauthorized mercenary activity is punishable by up to eight years in prison.

“He was the only Slovak in his unit, the only citizen of the European Union,” Kachura said.

“They mocked him, calling him a spy. Frankly, I didn't expect this. It was the first time I spoke to a captured Slovak.”

It is currently unknown whether the Ukrainian side has contacted Slovak authorities regarding the man's detention.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine