Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
A new conscription law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to make draft dodging harder is “highly likely part of a longer-term approach to provide personnel” in the war in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.
Adopted by the Russian State Duma, the law establishes an electronic registry of individuals eligible for military service.
This will allow military call-up papers to be delivered electronically rather than just by letters that are only considered delivered after being physically presented and signed for.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said: “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.”
Those who ignore the electronic summons face being prevented from getting a loan, moving into a new apartment, registering as self-employed and driving.
“The measures are reported to be coming into force later in the year; they do not specifically indicate any major new wave of enforced mobilisation,” the statement continued.
“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,” it added.
Some context: Men are routinely conscripted for military service in Russia twice a year, in spring and autumn. This spring, between April 1 to July 15, around 147,000 citizens between the ages of 18 and 27 are eligible for conscription by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
In September, Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens to aid fighting in Ukraine. This led to traffic jams at land border crossings into several countries as many Russians attempted to flee to avoid being drafted.