A Russian ice hockey star who signed a million-dollar career with an American team is rumoured to have been forced into Putin‘s army to fight in Ukraine instead.
Ivan Fedotov, 25, was rushed to an army enlistment office yesterday after being held by a squad of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers in St Petersburg.
The accusation of ‘draft dodging’ is seen as revenge for his signing to play for NHL team the Philadelphia Flyers.
The top goalie and Olympic silver medalist signed a deal worth $1.1million (£900,000) last month.
Fedotov was formerly with CSKA, a club in the capital with close ties to the Russian military. Its name translates to Central Sports Club of the Army.
News outlet Fontanka reported that he can now be sent to the Russian army rather than the US – but he could also be jailed for alleged draft dodging.
Russian national goalie Fedotov had signed a contract with NHL side the Philadelphia Flyers
The Olympic silver medalist could face potential deployment in Ukraine after ‘draft dodging’
‘He has just been detained “for evading the army”,’ reported Russian journalist Dmitry Navosha.
Fedotov is pictured collecting the KHL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award last season
Fedotov – who is 6ft 7 and one of the Russian and Chinese KHL league’s best players – ‘did not realise that [the USSR] is back’, he added.
The player has made public his intention to play in the NHL.
The operation seems a deliberate attempt to thwart him.
Video shows the moment he was detained on Friday at the ice rink in St Petersburg.
He was still at the enlistment office late at night before being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
A woman tried to get inside the ambulance but was pushed back. It’s thought 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 crony Boris.
Both men are sanctioned by the US over their links to Putin, as is Roman’s uncle, Arkady Rotenberg.
Worrying footage showed Fedotov confront police outside a rink in St Petersburg yesterday
Fedotov was pictured being taken in a cop car. His current whereabouts are now unknown
A source told Fontanka that the military prosecutor’s office believed ‘there are sufficient grounds to consider Fedotov an army evader’.
Despite being born in Finland and raised in Russia, the fact he played for CSKA meant he was considered a military man, said one report.
Technically, all Russian males up to the age of 28 can be called up, though few sons of the elite serve in the army, and fewer still have been sent to fight in Ukraine.
Fedotov is the Russian national team goalie.
The move has been interpreted as an attempt to punish Fedotov for signing an NHL contract
A man collects his belongings from his rocketed home in Siversk, near Donetsk yesterday
If he refuses to serve, he can face jail.
A source told Fontanka: ‘Nothing prevents even tomorrow sending hockey player Fedotov to the army.’
As a conscript, he should theoretically not be sent to fight in what Putin calls a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.
Yet there are accounts of conscripts as young as 18 being sent to fight.
Men aged up to 49 are now being enlisted as Russian forces grow depleted.
A pair of Bakhmut, Donetsk locals take photos of a crater left by a Russian missile attack, July 1
Inspectors review damage in Segiyvka near Odessa yesterday, where 21 people were killed
A man on a bike looks on as smoke rises from an explosion in Siversk, Ukraine yesterday
At least 21 people including two children were killed with dozens more wounded in the latest Russian missile strike on a civilian building in Ukraine.
A nine-storey apartment building in Odessa was targeted by a rocket overnight.
It’s just the latest Russian airstrike to hit a civilian target in Ukraine, after the Kremenchuk shopping centre was struck on Monday – killing at least 20 – and an apartment block in Mykolaiv was hit Wednesday – killing at least eight.
Ukraine says Russia is deliberately targeting civilians as part of a ‘terror’ campaign to distract from its failing invasion, a charge Putin denies.
A Ukrainian Army handout photo shows damaged buildings hit by Russian bombs in the east
The Odesa attack – thought to have been carried out by a Russian Tu-22 bomber – came just hours after Putin’s forces withdrew from Snake Island, around 90 miles out to sea from the key port city.
Russian forces were forced to withdraw from the 100-acre spit of land after sustaining heavy fire from Ukrainian artillery and anti-ship missile batteries.
Moscow attempted to play off the withdrawal as a ‘goodwill gesture’, the same phrasing it used when forced to retreat from Kyiv and Chernihiv earlier in the war.