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Invasion in Ukraine: Russian conscripts would have been forced to sign military contracts, losing contact with their families


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Parents of Russian conscripts who say they have lost communication with loved ones are pleading with Kremlin officials to find out where their family members have been sent, fearing they were coerced into signing contracts to fight as part of the invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin. , according to the report.

Olga Larkina, director of the Russian Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, spoke to the Russian investigative newspaper Meduza, describing how Russian conscripts – those who meet the conditions for military enlistment – had been pressured and sometimes even forced to sign contracts to become soldiers for the Russian. military.

“Mothers tell us that their sons call them and say they are forced to sign contracts. We think it’s wrong to force a conscript to become a contract soldier,” Larkina said, according to the translated article. “Parents who contacted us told us their sons had just been taken away by military officers, dabbed, and that was it – now they are contract soldiers.”

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Police officers inspect the area after an apparent Russian strike in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, February 24, 2022.
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Russian law would dictate that a conscript interested in signing a contract could do so after three months. The process of transferring a soldier from conscript service to contract service would take months in most cases, but officials would skip steps.

These contract soldiers were then sent to parts of Ukraine as part of the Kremlin invasion efforts, and the families have since lost communication with them, according to the report.

Larkina said she did not know how the soldiers were forced to sign the contracts.

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“I’m freaking out – where is my child? I tried to call all the phones he called me with and they’re all switched off. My child said even the captains’ phones were confiscated,” a woman said. mother under the pseudonym “Alyona” told Meduza. “I feel bad, I need the children not to be there, the children to be [back in] the places where they were conscripted, not in this hell.”

Invasion in Ukraine: Russian conscripts would have been forced to sign military contracts, losing contact with their families

Ukrainian soldiers take position in front of a military installation as two cars burn, on a street in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, February 26, 2022.
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Larkina said the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers has since contacted the Russian Defense Ministry, the military prosecutor’s office and military leaders to find out if the conscripts were being forced to sign the contracts. She said they never got a clear answer, according to the report.

“They said that we would need to call the commander of the military unit where the situation was occurring, that all responsibility for personnel lies with the commander of the unit, but it is impossible to get in touch with the commander,” Larkina said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine after spending weeks denying that was what he intended, while building up a force of nearly 200,000 troops along the countries’ borders.

Putin claimed the West had not taken Russia’s security concerns about NATO, the Western military alliance that Ukraine aspired to join, seriously. But, he also expressed his contempt for Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent state.

Putin did not reveal his ultimate plans for Ukraine, but Western officials said he seemed determined to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with his own regime, redraw the map of Europe and revive the influence of Moscow during the Cold War era.

In the fog of war, it was unclear how much territory Russian forces had seized. The British Ministry of Defense said that “the speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed, probably due to acute logistical difficulties and heavy Ukrainian resistance”.

A senior US defense official said on Saturday that more than half of the Russian combat power that was massed along Ukraine’s borders had entered Ukraine and that Russia had had to commit more fuel supplies and other support units inside Ukraine than originally planned.

Ukraine’s health minister announced on Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 others injured in what has become Europe’s largest ground war since World War II. It was unclear whether these figures included both military and civilian casualties.

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Jennifer Griffin of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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