Moscow - Dozens of Russian soldiers are facing trial for fleeing their unit, fearing deployment to Ukraine, a news site and a lawyer for five of the men said on Saturday.
The popular Gazeta.ru website said several dozen soldiers would be prosecuted after fleeing a training ground in southern Russia where they were under pressure to "volunteer" to fight in Ukraine.
The troops had freely enlisted for the army and are not draftees, it said.
It is the latest report to allege Russian soldiers are being sent to eastern Ukraine despite Moscow's insistence only "volunteers" are fighting alongside the pro-Russian separatists.
The defence ministry said the soldiers are under investigation for "disciplinary offences", the Echo of Moscow radio station reported.
Gazeta.ru cited mothers of two soldiers from the unit, based in the town of Maikop in the North Caucasus, as saying their sons had fled a training ground in the southern Rostov region, fearing being sent to Ukraine.
A lawyer representing five of the soldiers, Tatiana Chernetskaya, speaking by phone to AFP confirmed the report and said "dozens" of soldiers faced tribunals.
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