According to a report, thousands of men across Russia are now receiving draft notices to join the country’s armed forces in the war in Ukraine.
This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization of reservists in hopes of bolstering Moscow’s army in Ukraine. The order would initially call up 300,000 reservists.
Immediately after Putin’s announcement, men across Russia received their draft notices. According to the Washington Post, several reservists were ordered to report by phone. In addition to the reservists, several Russian men who were arrested on Wednesday after joining a demonstration protesting Putin’s mobilization orders have also been reportedly drafted into the military.
Crowds of Russian men were seen saying goodbye to loved ones before being loaded onto buses, in a video shared by the New York Times.
While Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu have said only men with previous military experience would be drafted, some men who received draft notices have never served in the armed forces, including a father of five who lives in the Siberian city of Ulan -ude and a student who had a military exemption, as reported by the Moscow Times.
Apart from Putin’s partial mobilization efforts, Russia may soon conscript immigrants from Central Asian countries who have held Russian citizenship for less than 10 years to serve a year of mandatory military service for Moscow.
“We are preparing proposals for new citizens of the Russian Federation who have held Russian citizenship for less than 10 years to serve a year of compulsory military service for people from Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,” said the Human Rights Council of Russia Member Kirill Kabanov wrote on Telegram Thursday, translated by CNN.
“The refusal to perform military service should result in the deprivation of Russian citizenship not only for a conscript, but also for his family members,” Kabanov added.
Russia’s efforts to increase its forces in Ukraine come as Kyiv continues to gain ground in its counter-offensives. Ukraine has reportedly retaken 6,000 square kilometers of territory from Russian forces since early September.
According to estimates by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, at least 55,510 Russian soldiers have been killed in the war so far.