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Vladimir Putin calls up 150,000 men for military service – but they won't fight in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new decree calling up 150,000 men for military service.

This is part of the regular conscription campaign happening twice a year in Russia, a document shared on the website of the Kremlin shows.

All Russian men are required to serve one year of compulsory military service, and there are approximately 1.32 million active military personnel and two million reserve military personnel in the country, according to data shared by Statista.

Many Russians go to great lengths to avoid being handed conscription papers during the call-up periods.

To make avoiding the draft more difficult, the Russian Parliament approved in April last year legislation which allows military officials to no longer rely on physical documents to summon people to the draft office but, rather, to do so via an online state services portal already widely used for taxes.

Russian MPs also increased fines for those who fail to show up at an enlistment office after getting the draft notice.

The bill, which came into force on October 1 last year, states that men trying to escape the draft can be fined up to £250 (30,000 roubles) – 10 times the previous maximum fine.

The Russian Defence Ministry previously tried to assure conscripts they would not be sent to the front in Ukraine – as people carrying out their year-long draft can’t legally be deployed to fight outside of Russia.

However, some conscripts were sent to the front in error following the partial mobilisation enforced by Putin in September 2022.

Moreover, soldiers who have completed their basic training are given the option to volunteer to take part in the ongoing “special military operation” – as the invasion of the eastern European nation is still addressed in Russia – with many feeling pressured to sign up.

This conscription campaign is the first happening since the pool of men who can be called up to serve has been widened by law.

The Russian Parliament voted in July to raise the maximum conscription age from 27 to 30, and the legislation came into effect on January 1.

Prior to this bill, all healthy men in Russia aged between 18 and 27 had to serve a year of military service.

In September, during the last autumn conscription campaign, Putin signed an order calling up 130,000 people.

During the spring call up in 2023, Russia planned to conscript 147,000 men.


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