(CNN) Russian President Vladimir Putin It is preparing to sign into law making it more difficult for Russians to avoid military draft, a move that has raised fears that the Russian president could order another wave of mobilization for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
The bill would allow military summons papers to be delivered electronically, in addition to traditional letters, and would prohibit those responsible for military service from traveling abroad.
Russian officials dismissed suggestions that the bill ushers in a new wave of mobilization, after that It’s messy in September It prompted scores of Russians to flee the country.
But the tough new rules are making it harder and harder for Russian men to avoid an order if it is given. Under the bill, the Kremlin would consider notifying Russians from the moment they receive a summons, even if they did not see the summons, and then would prevent them from leaving Russia.
The bill passed its third reading in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament on Tuesday. It is now set to be approved by the upper chamber, the Federation Council, on Wednesday, and Putin will finally sign it into law; Both steps are a formality.
Asked during a regular call with reporters whether the Kremlin was concerned that the proposed law, if passed, would lead to another wave of mass exodus of Russians, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Not at all. It has nothing to do with mobilization, you should.” With military registration.
“There is no second wave,” Peskov said, after being pressed to respond to rumors of a new attempt at mass mobilization.
Chaos greeted the first attempt in September, as dozens of Russians headed to the border to avoid being sent to fight. Protests also broke out in ethnic minority areas, and some military recruitment offices were set on fire. The original announcement also sparked rare anti-war demonstrations across Russia.
Officials said the draft’s goal of recruiting 300,000 personnel had been met by late October, ending the campaign.
Currently, documents for conscription in Russia must be submitted manually by the local military enlistment office or through the employer. The new law calls for an electronic recall – uploaded to a government portal called Gosuslugi – equal to the traditional method, and does not take into account whether it has been read or not.
Although the Kremlin was quick to downplay the move, its provisions and timing suited the military mired in the quagmire. stalemate in its overland campaign In eastern Ukraine, after months of grinding fighting that weakened their manpower and weapons.
Western officials told CNN last week that they believe Russia has a problem building a “trained military manpower.”
“[Russia has] They acknowledged that they needed an additional 400,000 troops, and this was not just for the conflict [in Ukraine]But also to meet the new formations that will be placed on the new borders with NATO and Finland.
“How they generate that is not clear at the moment,” the officials added, noting that a new wave of recalls would pose risks for Moscow. “Whether the population can sustain another round of mobilization and whether the Kremlin really wants to test the population’s resilience to that is not clear at the moment, but the fact that they haven’t done so suggests they have some concerns about it.”
CNN’s Vasco Cutovio and Max Foster contributed reporting.
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