Putin Signed A Decree To Conscript Convicts To Be Sent To Fight In Ukraine War

Freshly recruited Russian convicts board a train at a railway station in Prudboi, in Russia's Volgograd region, Sept. 29, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to conscript citizens with unexpunged or outstanding convictions for murder, robbery, larceny, drug trafficking and other serious crimes under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to be called up for military service to mobilise.

This makes it possible to mobilise hundreds of thousands of people sentenced to probation or recently released from colonies that were previously forbidden to serve.

The only group of criminals exempted from the decree are those who committed sex crimes against minors, treason, spying or terrorism. Also excluded are those convicted of the attempted assassination of a government official, hijacking an aircraft, extremist activity and illegal handling of nuclear materials and radioactive substances.

Putin said on Friday that the Kremlin had already mobilised an additional 18,000 soldiers above its goal of 300,000 to fight in its war in Ukraine from the general male population of Russia.

Last week, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that all partial mobilisation activities, including summons deliveries, had been suspended after officials said the draft’s target of recruiting 300,000 personnel had been met.

Putin’s partial mobilisation order will only end when the Russian President signs in an official decree. Until then, he reserves the right to recruit more people into military conscription in the future.

The head of Russia’s notorious Wagner forces, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has apparently summoned prisoners from Russian jails to join the mercenary group in fighting the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

The amendments signed by Putin are unrelated to these alleged recruitments. Instead, the law applies to prisoners who were conditionally convicted or released from colonies. These people usually must remain under the supervision of the authorities for eight to ten years until the conviction is cancelled.

They are not allowed to leave their place of residence and must comply with various restrictions.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister acknowledged for the first time that his country has supplied Russia with drones, insisting the transfer came before Moscow’s war on Ukraine that has seen the Iranian-made drones divebombing Kyiv.

The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of confusing messaging from Iran about the weapons shipment, as Russia sends the drones slamming into Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets.

“We gave a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” Amirabdollahian told reporters after a meeting in Tehran.

Previously, Iranian officials had denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine.

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