A Russian ice hockey star who signed a $1 million contract with an American team was arrested by Russian plainclothes police officers yesterday and taken to an army draft office before he is expected to be sent to fight in Ukraine.
Olympian Ivan Fedotov, 25, was reportedly conscripted into Putin’s army after he was filmed being arrested by a group of officers outside an ice rink in St Petersburg.
The charge of “draft dodging” is seen as revenge for his commitment to play for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
The top goalkeeper and Olympic silver medalist signed a deal worth $1.1million (£900,000) last month.
Fedotov used to be with CSKA, a club in the capital with close ties to the Russian military. Its name means “Central Sports Club of the Army”.
The Fontanka news agency reported that he could now be sent to the Russian army rather than the US – but he could also be jailed for alleged conscientious objection.
The Russian national goalkeeper Fedotov had signed a contract with the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers
The Olympic silver medalist could face a possible Ukraine call-out after a “draft evasion”.
“He was just arrested for dodging the army,” reported Russian journalist Dmitry Navosha.
Fedotov is recognized as KHL Goalkeeper of the Year last season
Fedotov – who is 6ft 7 and one of the best players in the Russian and Chinese KHL leagues – “didn’t realize it [the USSR] is back,” he added.
The player has made his intention to play in the NHL public.
The operation appears to be a deliberate attempt to thwart him.
The video shows the moment of his arrest on Friday at the ice rink in St. Petersburg.
He was at the registration office late that night before being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
A woman tried to get into the ambulance but was pushed back. It is believed that this was his mother.
Fedotov’s current whereabouts are unknown.
The man in charge of Russian ice hockey is Roman Rotenberg, son of oligarch and Putin friend Boris.
Both men are being sanctioned by the US for their ties to Putin, as is Roman’s uncle Arkady Rotenberg.
Worrying footage showed Fedotov confronting police outside an ice rink in St Petersburg yesterday
Fedotov was taken away in a police car. His current whereabouts are now unknown
A source told Fontanka that the military prosecutor’s office believes that “there are sufficient reasons to consider Fedotov an army fugitive.”
Despite being born in Finland and raised in Russia, the fact that he played for CSKA meant he was seen as a military man, a report said.
Technically, all Russian men can be drafted up to the age of 28, although few of the elite’s sons serve in the army and even fewer have been sent to fight in Ukraine.
Fedotov is the goalkeeper of the Russian national team.
The move was interpreted as an attempt to punish Fedotov for signing an NHL contract
A man collects his belongings from his house in Siversk, near Donetsk, which was hit by rockets
If he refuses to serve, he faces imprisonment.
A source told Fontanka: “There is nothing preventing the hockey player Fedotov from being sent to the army tomorrow as well.”
As a conscript, he should not, in theory, be sent to what Putin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Nonetheless, there are reports of conscripts as young as 18 being sent into combat.
Men as young as 49 are now being recruited as Russia’s armed forces are exhausted.
A Bakhmut couple, local Donetsk residents, take photos of a crater left by a Russian missile attack on July 1
Inspectors are checking damage in Segiyvka near Odessa yesterday, which has killed 21 people
A man on a bicycle looks on as smoke billows from an explosion in Seversk, Ukraine, yesterday
The latest Russian missile attack on a civilian building in Ukraine killed at least 21 people, including two children, and wounded dozens more.
A nine-story apartment building in Odessa was hit by a missile overnight.
It is only the latest Russian airstrike on a civilian target in Ukraine, after hitting the Kremenchuk shopping center on Monday – killing at least 20 people – and hitting a block of flats in Mykolayiv on Wednesday – killing at least eight people.
Ukraine says Russia is deliberately targeting civilians as part of a “terror” campaign to distract from its failed invasion, an accusation Putin denies.
A Ukrainian army photo shows damaged buildings hit by Russian bombs in the east
The attack on Odessa, believed to have been carried out by a Russian Tu-22 bomber, came just hours after Putin’s forces withdrew from Snake Island, some 90 miles from the important port city.
Russian forces were forced to withdraw from the 100-acre headland after receiving heavy fire from Ukrainian artillery and anti-ship missile batteries.
Moscow tried to play off the withdrawal as a “goodwill gesture,” the same phrase it used when forced to withdraw from Kyiv and Chernihiv earlier in the war.