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Russian Soldier Requests Political Asylum In Georgia

Dmitry Artemyev in Tbilisi on July 2.

Dmitry Artemyev in Tbilisi on July 2.

MOSCOW -- The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that a Russian soldier is seeking political asylum in Georgia, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Georgian military reports that Dmitry Artemyev left his post with the Russian Army in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia on July 1 and applied for political asylum in Georgia.

Georgian authorities brought Artemyev to Tbilisi, and he held a press conference in front of the UN building in the Georgian capital.

Artemyev told journalists that he left the Russian Army because he was often beaten by officers.

Another Russian soldier, Aleksandr Gluhov, received political asylum in Georgia in May after also leaving his post in South Ossetia.

The St. Petersburg-based NGO Soldiers' Mothers Committee says it recently received a complaint from the relatives of a soldier who was found hanged in a train station.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported last month that some 150 soldiers had died in noncombat situations this year.