A former mayor of the Russian city of Vladivostok has enlisted to fight in Ukraine and departed for the front after he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Sunday, citing his lawyer.

Oleg Gumenyuk, a former Vladivostok mayor, was last year sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking bribes of 38 million roubles ($432,000). He served as mayor from 2018 to 2021, resigning amid a flurry of criticism of his record from local and federal officials.

“According to an order issued to Gumenyuk, he was supposed to report to his military unit on December 22,” Kommersant cited Gumenyuk’s lawyer Andrei Kitaev as saying. Kitaev could not be reached for immediate comment.

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners volunteered for service in Ukraine, taking advantage of an offer of clemency for those who survive their stints at the front.

In December, Kommersant reported that Alexander Tyutin, a St Petersburg businessman who had been serving a 23 year sentence for ordering contract killings until signing up for Ukraine, had been re-arrested for plotting more murders.

Recruitment of prisoners was initially pioneered by the Wagner mercenary outfit, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in an August 2023 plane crash after a failed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in June.

Russia’s defence ministry has since adopted the tactic, forming its Storm-Z units partly out of convict volunteers recruited directly from prisons.