In an unprecedented move, the judiciary of Kazakhstan has convicted a citizen, Alexey Shompolov, for his participation in the ongoing war against Ukraine, serving under a Russian private military company (PMC), Wagner. The court has sentenced the 34-year-old resident of the Karaganda region to a prison term of six years and eight months.
Caught in the Act
Shompolov was arrested upon his return to Kazakhstan after joining Russia's Wagner mercenary group and battling against Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut in May. He admitted his guilt, revealing his motivation was driven by financial needs, having been promised a well-paying job in Russia. The court not only upheld Shompolov's sentence on November 15 but also confiscated the payment he received from Wagner.
Kazakhstan's Legal Stance
While Kazakhstan has not openly criticized Russia's war against Ukraine, its legislation strictly prohibits its citizens from participating in foreign wars. The Kazakh law punishes mercenaries serving abroad with up to ten years in prison. Shompolov's sentence reflects Kazakhstan's stance on foreign military involvement and the legal implications for its citizens engaging in conflicts abroad.
This is not an isolated incident. Another Kazakh citizen, Shyngys Sejliyev, was previously sentenced to nine years in Ukraine for serving as a mercenary for the same Wagner group. The court's decision sends a clear message to citizens considering participation in foreign conflicts, underscoring the potential consequences they face under the rule of Kazakh law.