Russian lawyer Mikhail Benyash said he and his team would soon defend a group of Russian National Guards from the Rosgvardia who got fired for refusing to take part in the invasion of Ukraine. After making the announcement, Benyash said that he was flooded with phone calls from people in different parts of Russia.

“A lot of people don’t want to go and fight,” Benyash told the Financial Times through a phone call from the city of Krasnodar. He added that over a thousand people have been in touch with his team while he prepares for the first court trial that will potentially expose growing dissent among Russia’s forces.

Benyash will defend 12 members of the National Guard who have been relieved of their positions after refusing to be deployed in Ukraine. These guardsmen were members of the Rosgvardia, an internal military force separate from the army. It was established in 2016 through a law signed by Vladimir Putin.

Head of Russian human rights group Agora, Pavel Chikov, said that the guardsmen were deployed to Crimea before the invasion to conduct military exercises. However, after the start of the invasion on February 24th, the group received an order to advance toward the border and head to Ukraine. The 12 refused and were subsequently dismissed from duty for their decision.

The guardsmen argue that command was unlawful, citing that they were soldiers but were part of an internal force designed to accomplish duties within Russia.

“The refusal to carry out the order was explained by its unlawfulness,” Chikov wrote. “Their direct duties were limited to the territory of the Russian Federation.”

He noted that none of the men were informed that they were being deployed to Ukraine to partake in Putin’s special operation. They were also not briefed on the tasks and conditions of the operation.

“As a consequence, (they) did not consent to it,” Chikov added.