A Russian project to annex the occupied Ukrainian territories

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a videoconference meeting on the draft federal budget for 2024 and the planning period for 2025 and 2026 at the Kremlin in Moscow on September 18, 2023.
Michael Metzl/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

  • The Russian Autumn Project begins on October 1 and seeks to call up 130,000 new soldiers to fight in the war.
  • The Kyiv Independent reported that qualified men would be recruited from the occupied regions of Ukraine.
  • Russian state media claims that no forced conscription has ever occurred in occupied Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday that the upcoming recruitment campaign will include for the first time qualified men from four occupied regions of Ukraine.

The Russian draft, which begins on October 1 and continues until the end of the year, seeks to call up 130,000 new soldiers to serve, according to Russian state media. TASS. Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to conscript for a year of compulsory military service.

The autumn draft will include, for the first time, residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine, including the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia. Independent Kyiv mentioned. Putin announced the annexation of the four regions last September after holding elections that Ukraine and its Western allies considered a “sham.” CNN.

While Russian forces currently control the territory, loyalties among residents remaining in the regions are divided between Ukrainian loyalists and those who support the Russian regime. France24 mentioned.

Earlier this year, Russia passed a law raising the maximum conscription age to 30 to expand its pool of potential soldiers, but the change will not take effect until January 2024. In mid-July, Insider previously reported that Russia’s maximum age had also been raised. Veteran reservists called back into combat, making the country’s top officers eligible for mobilization at 70 years old.

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Representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Government of the Russian Federation did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Russia mobilized 300,000 soldiers last year, leading to a mass exodus of young Russians fleeing the country due to fears of being called upon to fight. In response, the country passed a measure prohibiting people who had been conscripted from leaving the country.

While the country’s tough measures have made it increasingly difficult for eligible Russian men to avoid compulsory military service, Insider reported that President Vladimir Putin fears a backlash among his citizens and wants to avoid a general recall.

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