AN RUSSIAN hockey star who played in the Olympics and had just lined up a big money move to a US team has been snatched in the street accused of being a “draft dodger”.
Ivan Fedotov, 25, was rushed to an army enlistment office after being dramatically held by a squad of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers in St Petersburg.
And chillingly, he was then later whisked away by an ambulance from the recruitment office.
Vladimir Putin‘s cops have accused him of seeking to evade the military draft – and the move is being seen as revenge for signing to play in the US for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Top goalkeeper Fedotov was formerly with CSKA – a club with close ties to the military Russia.
Fontanka news outlet reported he can now be sent to the Russian army rather than the US.
He could end up fighting in Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine – but he could also end up being jailed as Vlad cracks down on any dissenters.
“He has just been detained ‘for evading the army’,” reported Russian journalist Dmitry Navosha
Fedotov – 6ft 7 inches tall – “did not realise that [the USSR] is back”.
The player – the best keeper in the Kontinental Hockey League [KHL] which includes Russia and China – made public his intention to play in the NHL.
And he was picked on the roster to represent Russia at the 2022 Winter Olympics early this year in China.
The cruel operation seems a deliberate attempt to thwart him leaving for the US and keep him in Russia.
Video shows the moment he was detained at an ice arena in St Petersburg, the home city of Putin.
He was still at the enlistment office late at night before being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
A woman trying to get inside the ambulance – but seen being pushed back – was reportedly his mother.
Fedotov’s whereabouts are not now known.
The man in charge of Russian ice hockey is Roman Rotenberg, son of Putin’s close crony, oligarch Boris Rotenberg. Both men are sanctioned by the US over their links to Putin, as is Roman’s uncle Arkady Rotenberg.
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.
Nothing prevents even tomorrow sending […] Fedotov to the army.
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 ís the Russian national team goalie.
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 – in theory – 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 ordered to fight.
Among draftees in the war, there were dozens and perhaps hundreds on board the Moskva cruiser which was sunk in the Black Sea in April.
Putin’s vicious war in Ukraine continues to grind on, with the Russians have lost as many as 50,000 soldiers.
Kremlin forces however are now grinding forward in the east of Ukraine more than 120 days into the conflict.
Vlad had hoped to win an lightning victory when he first stormed across the country to seize Kyiv.
Ukrainians have instead put up a valiant resistance against a much larger foe – driving Putin back and inflicting heavy losses.
Russia has resorted to brutal tactics, including killing civilians – just this week bombing a packed shopping centre.
Western nations have united against Russia and have been providing weapons to help Ukraine.
But fears continue to loom the conflict could spiral out of control into a wider war as NATO takes a tougher stance on Russia.