New Russian law shows Vladimir Putin anticipating ‘lengthy conflict’ in Ukraine - MoD
Conscription law enables military to serve summons paper electronically
A new Russian conscription law shows that Moscow anticipates a “lengthy conflict” in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned.
In an intelligence update, the MoD said that a new law allowing the Russian army to serve call-up papers electronically would remove “an obstacle” to recruiting more soldiers.
Russia is currently in the process of calling up 147,000 men aged 18 to 27 between April 1 and July 15 to perform compulsory military service as part of its longstanding twice-yearly conscription cycle.
The military had previously only been able to serve call-up papers by letter.
The MoD said of the announcement: “With individuals’ call-up data now digitally linked to other state-provided online services, it is likely that the authorities will punish draft-dodgers by automatically limiting employment rights and restricting foreign travel.”
They added that the measures do not “specifically indicate any major new wave of enforced mobilisation”.
“Russia is, for now, prioritising a drive to recruit extra volunteer troops. However, the measure is highly likely part of a longer-term approach to provide personnel as Russia anticipates a lengthy conflict in Ukraine”.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been killed since the beginning of the Russian invasion last year.
Colonel Andrei Biryukov, an official in the Russian army responsible for the draft, on Friday said the first conscripts would be dispatched to ”permanent deployment points on the territory of the Russian Federation” from April 20.
He said there would be no mass mailings of new electronic summonses to people of conscript age.
Conscripts require many months of training and Russia has said they will not be sent into war zones in Ukraine.
However, they provide the Russian army with a trained pool of personnel who can be pressured into signing up as professional soldiers.
Tens of thousands of Russian men have fled abroad since the start of the war.
Under new rules signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, citizens who evade the draft will be banned from travelling abroad and face other strictions including on loans and state benefits.
In other developments, at least eight people – including a two-year-old child – were killed in the Russian shelling of Slovyansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The strike was one of a long series of attacks to hit civilian areas in the war.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the brutal attack.
“The evil state once again demonstrates its essence," he wrote on Telegram.
“Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life.”