Kremlin says not planning new Ukraine mobilisation drive

MOSCOW – The Kremlin said on Friday it did not plan a new mobilisation drive for its military operation in Ukraine, amid media reports that students were being served draft notices.

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is stretching into a second year, with military analysts pointing to a stalemate on the battlefield in the east of the country.

“There is no talk in the Kremlin about some sort of mobilisation wave,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Mr Peskov spoke after Russian media reports said that students were receiving draft notices in Moscow and several other cities.

“To be honest, this is the first time I hear about this,” Mr Peskov said. “What notices? Honestly, I don’t even know.”

After sending troops to Ukraine in February 2022, President Vladimir Putin in September 2022 ordered a “partial” military call-up to boost regular forces in what has become the first military mobilisation in Russia since World War II.

Hundreds of thousands of men have been drafted, while tens of thousands more have fled abroad.

Mr Peskov said that work was ongoing to modernise and digitalise Russia’s draft system in efforts related to “the constitutional obligation of Russian citizens to perform compulsory military service”.

Last week Mr Putin signed off on legislation to create a digital draft system that could bar men from leaving the country amid Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

The bill was rushed through Parliament and even Kremlin-friendly lawmakers complained that it was adopted under a veil of secrecy.

Those who fail to show up at the enlistment office following receipt of the electronic draft notice will not be able to take out loans, register property or work as individual entrepreneurs.

Ms Tatiana Stanovaya, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Centre, said that with the lightning adoption of the legislation the Kremlin was seeking to create a “digital system of control over society”.

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