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Russian Military Personnel - Conscripts in Putin's War 2022

The law ( Decree of the President of the Russian Federation "Issues of military service") does not prohibit sending conscripts for military service to areas of military operations. But it provides for two conditions: this can be done only four months after the start of the service, and the conscript soldier must receive a military registration specialty. After that, a person can carry out military service, including in combat conditions.

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to an appeal from the leaders of the Donbass republics , decided to conduct a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow's plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. On March 24, the UN General Assembly adopted a Western resolution on Ukraine, which holds Russia responsible for the crisis.

Reuters cited two European diplomats saying Russian conscripts were told they were taking part in military exercises but had to sign for extended duty before the invasion. “They were misled, badly trained and then arrived to find old Ukrainian women who looked like their grandmothers yelling at them to go home,” one of the diplomats told the news agency 31 March 2022.

The Ministry of Defense stated that sending conscripts to war was excluded. By law, they can be sent to the combat zone no earlier than four months after the start of military service. Among those who are sent to the border, even those conscripts who were called up only in December 2021 and who had not yet had time to undergo the necessary training. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on 09 March 2022 that "some of the conscripts" had been captured by Ukrainian armed forces, adding that "almost all of the conscripts" had been recalled from Ukrainian territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin received a report on the implementation of his instructions to categorically exclude the involvement of conscripts to perform tasks on the territory of Ukraine, on his behalf, materials were sent to the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office for a legal assessment of the actions and punishment of officials responsible for failure to comply with this instruction, the press secretary of the head of State Dmitry Peskov said 09 March 2022.

The Russian army also for the first time openly admitted that its servicemen were captured by Ukraine. Previously, such messages were not commented on or refuted by the authorities at all levels. The number of those taken prisoner was not named. Authorities are said to be "taking exhaustive measures" to release the prisoners and keep conscripts out of combat in the future.

Immediately after the start of the war, the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers reported that before the entry of troops to the Ukrainian border, conscripts were transferred, some of whom were forced to sign contracts. The chairman of the board of the organization, Olga Larkina, told the publication that since the beginning of the week, the committee had received dozens of calls from mothers who complained that their conscript sons were rushed to the Ukrainian border, given bulletproof vests and military weapons. Mothers write in the comments in the VKontakte groups that their sons-soldiers, deployed to the border with Ukraine, have stopped communicating. According to Larkina, young people were forced to sign contracts. Those who refuse to sign a contract have their military tickets taken away and stamped, or contracts are signed for them, said the chairman of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers.

It is no surprise that some sharp practice is entered into in order to meet conscription quotas. Some of this activity amounts to press-ganging. Cases are known in which a young man has gone off to his place of work or education in the morning and has found himself in a military unit by that evening. Everything is done in a day, so the youth is unable to contest his illegal induction. It seems that even if the conscript is medically unfit for service, it is not the commissariat’s problem. If he is found to be unfit once he gets to his training unit, then he will still have been registered and thus will have helped to fulfil the commissariat’s target.

The prosecutor of the Western Military District, Artur Egiev, said 07 June 2022 that twelve officers were held accountable for the participation of about 600 conscripts in a special operation, all conscripts have already been returned to Russia. Speaking at the Federation Council , Yegiyev said that "from the very beginning of the special military operation, the military prosecutor's office of the Western Military District has been constantly accompanying the troops."

"The facts of the participation of conscripts in it were established. At the moment, all of them have been returned. For all the violations that we have identified, responses have been carried out ... According to the supervision of the prosecutor's office of the Western Military District, because several districts are connected there, about 600 (conscripts participated in a special operation. - Approx. ed.)," he said.

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Page last modified: 19-06-2022 19:46:24 ZULU