Russian forces in occupied Bediansk in Zaporizhzhia Oblast are forcing local doctors who have received Russian passports to register for military service, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on April 24.
According to the General Staff, Russian forces are facing a “catastrophic lack of medical personnel on the battlefield.”
“In order to replenish the shortage of military doctors, locals who work at medical institutions in Berdiansk, who have received civilian passports of the Russian Federation, have begun to be forced to register for military service,” the General Staff’s update said.
The General Staff noted that, should the doctors refuse to participate, Russian troops have threatened them with the loss of their jobs.
Berdiansk has been under Russian occupation since February 2022. As early as March 2022, reports surfaced of Russian troops handing out Russian passports to the city’s residents, and in May the same year Putin signed a decree opening doors to handing Russian passports to residents of Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.
On March 19, a Zaporizhzhia court sentenced in absentia the head of Russia’s illegal occupation administration in Berdiansk, Oleksandr Saulenko, to 15 years in jail.
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Saulenko joined the pro-Russian Union of Left Forces party, which has never been represented in Ukraine’s parliament. The party was banned by a court on June 17, 2022.