The lawmakers of Russia on Tuesday has passed a sweeping legislation introducing jail terms of up to 15 years for wartime acts, including surrendering, as the nation’s forces face major battlefield setbacks around seven months after invading Ukraine.
Voluntary surrender & looting are punished by 10 and 15 years in prison, respectively, with “mobilization, martial law and wartime” listed as aggravating circumstances.
Desertion during mobilization or wartime will be awarded with a punishment of up to 10 years, as per the bill authored by members of all parties, which are represented in parliament.
Whereas, conscientious objectors are punished by up to three years in prison during wartime.
Moreover, the bill introduced the concepts of “mobilization, martial law and wartime” earlier not mentioned in the Russian Criminal Code, as per human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov.
Meanwhile, observers speculate that its passage provides the way for general mobilization amid Russia’s struggles to replenish its depleting troops in Ukraine.
Furthermore, troops who refuse service can be imprisoned even without martial law, military lawyer Maxim Grebenyuk said, pointing to language in the legislation that punishes troops during an “armed conflict.”
The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, voted unanimously in favour of the bill, Chikov added.
As per the state media, “Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, is expected to pass the draft bill on Wednesday.”
The wartime jail terms will then come into force the day President Vladimir Putin signs the bill into law.