Russian court keeps General Popov in custody

MOSCOW (Reuters) -A Russian military court on Monday refused to release Ivan Popov, the former commander of Russia's 58th army arrested on suspicion of fraud, turning down a request to put him under house arrest, a Reuters reporter in the court said.

Following a June 2023 mutiny by Wagner mercenaries against Russia's defence establishment, Popov said he had been dismissed after telling the top brass about the dire situation at the front in Ukraine.

Popov, whose military call sign was "Spartacus" and who was popular with the troops, said at the time that Russian soldiers had been stabbed in the back because of the failings of their senior commanders.

Russia's Investigative Committee said that Popov was suspected of involvement in the theft of more than 130 million roubles ($1.44 million) of metal products intended for building fortifications along the Ukrainian frontline.

The Investigative Committee on Thursday requested that Popov be transferred to house arrest.

Popov has been hailed by pro-Russian military bloggers, who dismissed the allegations against him and cast Popov as a patriot who was being punished for speaking truth to power.

Video published by the SHOT news agency showed him smiling in court on Monday after his transfer request was denied.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)