More than 20 Russian human rights and pro-democracy movements have called on members of the Russian military in Ukraine to surrender before a law criminalizing the move comes into effect.
This was reported by Radio Sloboda (RFE/RL), which added that the appeal of these organizations is published on the website of the Russian Vesna movement.
Activists remind that changes and amendments to the criminal law were approved by the State Duma in an accelerated procedure on Tuesday. The upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, will deal with them on Wednesday.
According to Vesna, it is very likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign the approved legal amendment without delay, which will bring it into force.
According to RFE/RL, this will radically change the situation for those soldiers who do not want to participate in the so-called special military operation in Ukraine.
The statement warns that the adopted changes introduce criminal liability for members of the Russian Armed Forces for voluntary surrender, unauthorized leaving the unit and failure to comply with orders.
These changes will affect not only the members of the army that are already on the territory of Ukraine, but also those soldiers who are still in Russia and who are preparing to be sent to the conflict zone.
While until now a soldier could refuse to participate in battles or surrender to the enemy and was not punished for it, now the refusal to fight will be punishable by up to three years in prison – as a failure to comply with an order.
Surrendering will also become a criminal offense, for which a soldier may face up to 10 years in prison, RFE/RL added.
“It is not your duty to die for Putin. Go home to your mothers, wives and children. In Russia, you are needed – by those who love you. For the authorities, you are just cannon fodder, which is wasted without any meaning or purpose,” the statement reads, according to RFE/RL, under which there is a link to instructions on how it is – for now – legally possible to refuse participation in a “special military operation”.
Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.
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