- The lower house of Russia’s parliament has passed a bill to strengthen punishment for soldiers.
- The bill increases prison time for soldier deserters and adds a reference to “mobilization.”
- The law was approved just a day before President Putin announced a “partial mobilization”.
lower house of the russian parliament Passing legislation to extend jail time For soldiers who leave their posts without permission or surrender.
The State Duma on Tuesday passed a bill extending prison terms for deserters from five years to 10 years. The law requires the approval of the Federation Council in Russia’s upper house and the signature of President Vladimir Putin — both of which are often seen as formalities.
The bill was passed a day before Putin announced plans to “partially mobilize” the country’s reserve forces, which called up some 300,000 reservists, According to the Washington Post.
Part of the bill includes a revised phrase that states soldiers will be punished if they leave the force “during mobilization or during a state of martial law, and during wartime or while armed conflict and combat activity is ongoing.” Translated by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
A previous version of the bill only referred to “during armed conflict or military operations,” according to Radio Free Europe.
Other amendments provide for up to 10 years in prison if a soldier refuses to fight, disobeys a commander’s orders or surrenders to an enemy without authorization.
The bill and partial mobilization are another sign that Moscow is escalating its war in Ukraine, even as some soldiers say they are exhausted from the seven-month-long invasion.
Just days before Ukrainian troops recaptured the city of Izium, a group of Russian soldiers began drafting letters expressing “moral exhaustion” and asking their commander to leave.
“Due to lack of vacation and mental exhaustion, I refuse to carry out my special operations duties on Ukrainian soil,” one soldier wrote.