The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin on Saturday has inked into a law a bill introducing lengthy jail terms and conditions for wartime acts including desertion and “voluntary” surrender.
The move comes three days after Putin called for a ‘partial military mobilization’ for the ongoing battle in Ukraine.
The legal changes has introduced the concepts of “mobilization, martial law as well as wartime” to the Russian Criminal Code for the first time.
Under the law, “voluntary” surrender is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But a first-time offender “may be exempted from criminal liability if he took measures for his release, returned to his unit or place of service and did not commit other crimes while in captivity,”
according to the bill published on the State Duma website.
Desertion during a period of mobilization or wartime will be punished by up to 10 years in jail, while conscientious objectors will risk up to three years in prison.
The law also mandates a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for looting during wartime and mobilization.
The bill — which was introduced by lawmakers from all parties represented in parliament in July — was swiftly passed by both chambers of the Russian parliament this week.
Many observers saw its quick passage through parliament as a precursor to Putin’s partial mobilization announcement.