Russian soldiers who refuse to fight in Ukraine will face 10-year prison sentences under a new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Putin launched the Ukraine “special military operation” on February 24, with Kremlin leaders hoping for a quick victory. However, Russian troops were met with a stronger-than-expected response from its Eastern European neighbor. Putin’s military has faced a plethora of issues, including trouble recruiting motivated soldiers—allowing Ukraine in recent weeks to launch counteroffensives to take back occupied territory.
Putin announced Wednesday that Russia would undergo a partial mobilization in which reserves will be called upon to fight in Ukraine as losses of troops and equipment continue to pile up. The announcement is seen as an escalation of the conflict, but has been met with protests in more than 38 cities in Russia—a rare indication of growing frustration with the war among the country’s citizens. The mobilization could lead to 300,000 reservists being called to serve.
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