Putin signs decree exempting students from mobilization
Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted university and vocational college students a draft deferment. Saturday's move follows the partial mobilization of military reservists to serve in Ukraine.
According to a presidential decree published on the Kremlin’s website, the decision concerns students who are enrolled at state-accredited vocational or higher-education institutions. It covers only those attending state educational institutions and research organizations for whom this is “the first such education.”
“This Decree comes into force from the date of its signing and applies to legal relations that arose from September 21, 2022,” the document reads, referring to the date when the partial mobilization was announced.
Earlier on Saturday, meanwhile, Putin signed new legislation amending Russia’s Criminal Code. Service members who “voluntarily surrender” to enemy forces during an armed conflict will face up to ten years behind bars upon returning home. First-time offenders, however, are allowed to avoid punishment if they flee from captivity and return to their unit. Other provisions of the new law include up to ten years in prison for service members who refuse to take part in armed hostilities, as well as for those who desert or dodge being drafted. Looting during wartime or a military operation carries a prison term of as long as 15 years.
The Defense Ministry said earlier that it intends to enlist 300,000 people into active service, prioritizing those with combat experience and specialties required for the military operation in Ukraine.