Nikita Chibrin

Deserter from 'heroic' Russian military unit granted temporary residence in Spain

27-year-old Nikita Chibrin, who intends to appear before an international tribunal to report 'war crimes' carried out by his unit in Ukraine, is seeking asylum in the country

MATEO BALÍN MADRID.

Nikita Chibrin, a 27-year-old Russian soldier who deserted from the war in Ukraine in June, is living legally in Spain after the Asylum and Refugee Office (OAR) agreed to process his application for international protection, police sources have said.

Chibrin told the authorities he had been part of a brigade which was awarded for its “heroism” by Russian president Vladimir Putin. He landed at Madrid airport on a commercial flight from Morocco on Tuesday, after a long journey through many different countries, and spent 48 hours in an immigrant centre while his request for asylum for political reasons was processed.

Chibrin can now remain in Spain on a temporary residence permit while his case is considered. He has said he intends to appear before an international tribunal regarding “war crimes” committed by his military unit during the early months of the Ukraine war. He also said he took no part in the crimes, and did not fire a single shot during the time he was in the country because he was demoted and assigned to cleaning and maintenance duties for rebelling as soon as he found himself in Ukraine, and was then used as a mechanic.

The former soldier signed up for the Russian army in June 2021 for economic reasons, and said that eight months later he was “deceived” into taking part in the “special operation” in Ukraine via Belaruss. Nikita Chibrin deserted from the army four months later.