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TikToker Nekoglai pledges to buy $100,000 worth of drones for Ukraine, promises to “fight the Russian regime”

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Popular social media personality Nekoglai (real name Nikolai Lebedev), who was beaten and tortured following his arrest in Moscow, announced that he would buy ten drones for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) worth $100,000 during a live stream. He added that he wanted to personally hand them over to the AFU, and promised to “fight the Russian regime.”

Russian security forces beat the blogger in November last year, shaved his head and deported him from the country in response to a video in which he parodied a Russian soldier grabbing and tossing away Ukrainian drone grenades in a trench.

Nekoglai spoke of torture at the police station: security officers had stripped him naked, beat him, raped him with a plastic bottle, pulled out his hair and shaved his head.

The 22-year-old social media star was detained in Moscow on November 9 – two days prior, he had posted a video parodying a Russian soldier in a trench being pelted with grenades from a drone.

The TikToker, a Moldovan citizen, was detained until his identity was verified. After the arrest, pro-Kremlin media outlets published a video with his apology – Nekoglai is seen shaven bald. The day before his arrest, Ekaterina Mizulina, head of Russia’s Safe Internet League, drew attention to Nekoglai's video. She said that the blogger mocked the feat of the soldier, who “heroically twice fought off the attack of a drone carrying Ukrainian grenades.” She turned to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Interior Ministry with a request to investigate Lebedev for allegedly “discrediting” the Russian army.

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