Russian ice hockey star who signed to play in the US is forcibly hauled to draft enlistment office for Putin’s army amid war with Ukraine
- Ivan Fedotov, 25, was taken to army enlistment office after ‘draft-dodging’ claims
- Accusation is seen as revenge for move to NHL team Philadelphia Flyers
- Promising goalie was formerly with CSKA, which has ties to Russian army
- Fedotov ‘did not realise that the USSR is back’, one Russian journalist quipped
A Russian ice hockey star poised for a career in the US is said 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.
Top goalkeeper Fedotov was formerly with CSKA – a club in the capital with close ties to the Russian military. CSKA stands for Central Sports Club of the Army.
Russian national goalie Fedotov had signed a contract with NHL side the Philadelphia Flyers
Worrying footage showed Fedotov confront police outside a rink in St Petersburg yesterday
News outlet Fontanka reported that he can now be sent to the Russian army rather than the US – but he might also be jailed.
Fedotov is pictured collecting the KHL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award last season
‘He has just been detained “for evading the army”,’ reported Russian journalist Dmitry Navosha.
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.
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
The Olympic silver medalist could face potential deployment in Ukraine after ‘draft dodging’
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.
Inspectors review damage in Segiyvka near Odessa yesterday, where 18 people were killed