Moscow, Nov 1 (EFE).- Russia on Tuesday opened its semi-annual recruitment drive for obligatory military service but insisted that conscripts would not be deployed to the war in Ukraine.
A total of 120,000 male citizens between the age of 18-27 are being called up for military service, some 7,500 fewer than last year, in a process that will remain open until December 31.
“Soldiers who perform compulsory military service perform tasks according to the type of unit to which they are assigned, but they will not be sent to the zone of the special military operation,” Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday in a meeting with the Russian high command.
Those who have completed the year-long military service will return home this fall, he added.
Shoigu added that military service conscripts would not be sent to Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, regions of southeastern Ukraine that Moscow unilaterally annexed, but where fighting with Ukrainian forces continues.
However, the United States think tank the Institute for the Study of War cast doubt on such claims, saying that conscripts being called up Tuesday will likely be assigned to “combat and support units in Ukraine and begin to arrive on the battlefield around May 2023” once their roughly six months of basic training is complete.
“The combination of the just-completed partial reserve mobilization and the annual conscription cycle thus creates two likely waves of Russian troops flowing into Ukraine—one moving in over the next few weeks, and the other starting to flow in spring 2023,” it added in a daily report dated October 30.
The call-up for compulsory military service is carried out throughout the Russian Federation, except in 25 municipalities of five federated entities located in the far east of the country due to their geographical location and climatic conditions.
This year’s fall call up for military service was delayed from the usual date of October 1 following president Vladimir Putin’s decree on September 21 to mobilize reservists to aid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Friday, Shoigu announced that the process of conscripting 300,000 reservists had been completed. He added on Tuesday that 87,000 of those had already been sent to the battle in Ukraine.
During Russia’s partial mobilization, reservists complained and protested against the lack of basic materials and poor conditions. In some cases, reservists claimed they had been instructed to pay for their own material. EFE