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Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has sparked international controversy by approving legislation granting amnesty to criminals who voluntarily enlist in the Russian armed forces. fighting in Ukraine.
The move comes as Russia seeks to bolster its troop numbers in the first stages of its offensive against Ukraine.
The legislation formalizes the recruitment of prisoners and suspected criminals into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine – a practice first used by private arms contractor Wagner last year. However, in early 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense took control of prison recruitment, as reported by the Moscow Times on Tuesday.
The State Duma released a statement on Tuesday (September 5), explaining the limits of this unprecedented campaign. In particular, the amnesty does not apply to all those imprisoned in Russian prisons.
Exempted from this opportunity are individuals convicted of serious crimes such as acts of terrorism, sex crimes, espionage and treason.