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Analysts at Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War say that the Kremlin continues to lower eligibility requirements for Russian military service in an effort to increase its recruitment pool.
The Russian State Duma reportedly adopted the third and final reading of a law that would allow citizens with a criminal record and citizens deemed “partially fit” for military service to sign contracts with the Russian military during periods of wartime, mobilization or martial law, Kremlin-run news agency TASS reported on June 20.
Russia calls up draftees twice a year, during autumn and spring, but one-time mobilizations may also be announced.
The ISW cited the head of the independent Russian human rights organization “Rus Sidyashchaya” (Russia Behind Bars) Olga Romanova who claimed that the Russian Ministry of Defense has already recruited about 15,000 prisoners to serve in the Russian military since February 1, 2023.
The ISW has previously reported on the Russian Defense Ministry's efforts to recruit prisoners and individuals with criminal records in order "to compensate for shortcomings with Russian force generation efforts."