Russia's President Putin has signed a decree allowing foreign citizens to sign their first contract to serve in the Russian Armed Forces for one year instead of five years. Such contract servicemen, however, may end up in a situation where they can't resign after a year because of a "partial mobilization" decree.
A group of the Federal Assembly members from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] has drafted a bill on providing free legal assistance to veterans of the "special military operation" and their family members. The veterans will also be exempt from paying the state fee for issuing an ID and driver's license.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in its evening report, claims that up to 200 conscripts were transferred from the Rostov region to the Russian-occupied part of the Luhansk region. As of yet, there is no independent confirmation of this information.
Draft notices continue to be issued across Russia. A draft notice was received by a 33-year-old Cheboksary resident who served in the army in 2012. Officers at a military commissariat [enlistment office] told him they were clarifying personal data and updating reservists' military registration files.
From Feb. 20 to Apr. 21, the Perm State University will update data and compile lists of students and employees who can be called up for military service. This data will be transferred to a military commissariat before summer. The university itself stated that this is a regular procedure that all state universities carry out once a year.
At least 60 residents from the Raduzhnyi town, Vladimir region, were drafted to the war with Ukraine. At least 19 more have signed contracts with the Russian Army. By now, four residents of the town have already been killed in the war, and another resident was crushed by a tank turret during the exercises. The population of Raduzhnyi town is just above 17,000.
Draftees continue getting killed in the war with Ukraine. Thus, it came to light the death of Aldar Putunkeev, born in 1997 in the village of Orlik, Buryatia [constituent republic of Russia], as well as Aleksandr Korovin, born in 1978, and Aleksandr Sangadiev, born in 1989 from the same region.
The journalists of 72.RU [Tyumen city online media outlet] spoke with the father of Afanasy Podaev, a conscripted soldier who was killed in the Belgorod region during shelling.
The draftees from Irkutsk, from the 1439-th regiment, for the third time, asked Putin to assign them back from assault units to the territorial defense. The plea of the draftees was handed over to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet editorial office by their wives. They also sent a written protest to the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office. The draftees complained again that the commanders were sending them to storm strongholds and to fortify areas on the front line. The document stated that the evacuation groups of the "DPR" evacuated only their own fighters and only with minor wounds. Seriously wounded and killed Russian soldiers are not taken away because the evacuation groups are afraid of losing their vehicles in the process. As it was reported by the relatives of one of the soldiers from the regiment to Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty]], they were sent again to storm the fortified area of Avdiivka on the day the video appeal was shot.
Draftees from the 1843rd Territorial Defense Battalion are calling for their commanders to be held accountable for sending them into an attack without proper support. In a video address, the soldiers stated: “We were thrown to storm a concrete fortified area held by the AFU with only small firearms and shovels. This ended with us getting massacred. We suffered casualties in killed and wounded. We were not properly prepared to attack.”
On Feb. 26, a draft office window was broken, and anti-war inscriptions appeared on a wall. A security guard responded to the sound of the broken glass and discovered the writings: “No to war!”, “Enough killing!”, “How much more killing?” According to the Baza Telegram channel, the police have already detained the suspect, a 25-year-old graduate student of the St. Petersburg Academic University named Vladimir Mironov. The young man is facing charges under the Russian Criminal Code Article 280.1 Part 1 (“discrediting” the Russian Army) and Article 213 Part 2 (hooliganism). Today, Mironov was sent to jail to await trial and sentencing. The Fontanka news portal points out that Mironov was already facing administrative charges under Article 20.3.3 of the Russian Administrative Offenses Code.
The 2nd Western District Military Court in Moscow extended the detention of Kirill Butylin, a suspect in setting fire to a draft office, by six months, i.e., until Aug. 19. According to the Zona Solidarnosti [Solidarity Zone] human rights initiative, Butylin was the first person to set fire to a draft office after the invasion into Ukraine. On Feb. 28, 2022, the young man set fire to the draft office in Lukhovitsy, Moscow region, painted its gates with the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and wrote, “I won’t go kill my brothers!”
A worker, Aleksey Baranov, was put in a pre-trial detention center until Apr.19 by the Krasnogvardeysky District Court of St. Petersburg. The man is suspected of trying to set fire to a warehouse of extra-departmental guards (a service that is a part of the National Guard of Russia), setting fire to two cars, and attempting to set fire to two police cars. This information was published by the United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg.
On Feb.27, Denis Serdyuk, who was accused of setting fire to a draft office in the Soviet district of Volgograd, was sentenced. According to investigators, the man threw a Molotov cocktail into the building of the draft office on the night of May 15. As a result, the utility room burned out; no one was injured. Serdyuk explained his act with the desire to "stop combat actions." The man was adjudged guilty and sentenced to four years in prison. He also has to pay compensation to the Ministry of Defense for damages in the amount of 923,200 RUB [~12,500 USD].
A grenade exploded in a residential building in Krasnodar. It was brought from the combat zone in Ukraine by Kirill P, a 34-year-old volunteer soldier. In a state of alcohol intoxication, Kirill, who had recently returned from the combat zone, took out an RGD-5 anti-personnel fragmentation grenade, which detonated soon after. Some women with children were in the apartment at the moment; they were not injured. The volunteer soldier received shrapnel wounds; he was provided medical assistance. Another grenade was found in the apartment, and it was neutralized by sappers. Now the man is facing criminal charges under Art. 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illicit possession of weapons).
Three mobilized Volgograd residents have managed to get a deferral from being sent to Ukraine — they won’t leave their unit at least until the end of the medical examination.
In the Belgorod region, almost 10 billion rubles were spent on the construction of a "barrier line" — a system of defensive fortifications on the border with Ukraine. The amount spent on the project was announced by the Minister of Construction in the region Oksana Kozlitina. According to the Fonar [Lantern] local media outlet, it is twice the budget allocated for the construction of two infectious diseases centers in the region.
The Administration of the Krasnoarmeysky district of the Krasnodar region reported on the assistance provided to a mobilized soldier’s mother, who was living alone: they repaired the door in her pit latrine. However, after the media drew attention to the news, it was deleted from the Administration's page on the VKontakte social network.
In the Philharmonic theater in the Zabaykalsky region, volunteers and children arranged an exhibition of things they had prepared to send to the “special military operation” zone, including homemade stretchers, trench candles, letters, knitted hats, balaclavas, underwear, drones, and thermal imagers.
In the Kursk region, another campaign was held to procure firewood for the military. More than 300 people reportedly took part in the drive, including representatives of local administrations, volunteers, students, employees of draft offices, and enthusiasts.
According to official data, 140 students of colleges and vocational schools in the Lipetsk region are employed at 50 regional enterprises. “On average, two employees per shift are students,” the production director of the Lebedyansky Machine-Building Plant says. One of the students, Dmitry Yershkov, has been working at the plant for four months since the workers left for the front. In order to continue his studies, an individual plan was drawn up for him at his vocational school.
The son of Marina Bodunova from the town of Beryozovsky, Sverdlovsk region, was killed in the war in Ukraine last year. To cope with her grief, the woman started making trench candles for Russian military personnel in one of the churches in her town.
University students in the Saratov and Penza regions are being forced to participate in a survey on patriotism. They are asked about their nationality and whether a person who prefers foreign art can be a patriot. They are also asked if they are proud of the "renaissance of the Russian Army," how they feel about mobilization and the “special military operation,” and whether they are willing to go to war for their country and accomplish heroic deeds there.