NHL player detained in Russia over “draft-dodging” now missing, says lawyer

NHL player Ivan Fedotov is reportedly missing in Russia after he was detained for allegedly avoiding military service in the country, according to his lawyer.

The 25-year-old Russian Philadelphia Flyers player was detained in St. Petersburg earlier this week and was told to register with the Russian army.

Under Russian law, men aged between 18 and 27 must spend at least one year in the army. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in March ordering 134,500 conscripts into the armed forces as part of the country’s ongoing war with Ukraine, according to Reuters.

Dodging the draft is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to 200,000 roubles ($3,508).

Goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov #28 of Team ROC reacts while leaving the rink after defeating Team Denmark 3-1 in the Men’s Ice Hockey Quarterfinal match between Team ROC and Team Denmark on Day 12 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Wukesong Sports Centre on February 16, 2022 in Beijing, China. Fedotov has been detained in Russia.
Getty

Fedotov’s lawyer Alexei Ponomarev told state news outlet RIA Novosti that he cannot contact the hockey player and does not know his whereabouts.

He told the publication: “At the moment, there is no connection with Ivan. We are investigating the situation. Is it known where he is? Unfortunately no. We are investigating.”

Fedotov fell ill when he was at the enlistment office in St. Petersburg and was later hospitalized, according to RIA Novosti.

On Sunday, Ponomarev said Fedotov had reportedly been sent to Severomorsk, in the Kola Penninsula to the far north, at night.

Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin and the Philadelphia Flyers for comment.

Fedotov said in April that he would leave Moscow’s CSKA hockey club and would be joining the Philadelphia Flyers.

He told the team’s coaches and management that he would no longer play for the team and that he also planned to leave Russia, according to media outlet Fontanka.ru.

Sources close to the club reportedly told the Russian publication: “He arbitrarily and illegally terminated the contract with the hockey club.”

Fedotov is a goaltender who was previously named to play for the Russian Olympic Committee athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He also won the coveted Gagarin Cup with CSKA Moscow earlier this year.

Fedotov is not the first athlete to have been detained in Russia this year. U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February.

Griner, 31, who has played in Russia, arrived at court in Moscow on Friday on drug charges that could lead to 10 years’ imprisonment if found guilty.

Her trial will take place as relations between Moscow and Washington, D.C. continue to deteriorate over the course of the war in Ukraine.

Officials in the U.S. believe that Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia.

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