Russia continues to coerce Crimeans into its military and punishes those that resist

Illegal military conscription of local residents–citizens of Ukraine–in occupied Crimea into the Russian military conducted at one of the military commissariats on the peninsula. Photo: rk.gov.ru

Illegal military conscription of local residents–citizens of Ukraine–in occupied Crimea into the Russian military conducted at one of the military commissariats on the peninsula. Photo: rk.gov.ru 

Crimea, Russian Aggression

Edited by: A. N.

Editor’s Note

In Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula occupied by Russia, local males of eighteen to twenty seven years of age–who are Ukrainian citizens–have been illegally conscripted into the aggressor’s armed forces against their will. If they resist, the occupier-run “court” system coerces them into military service by imposing heavy fines and/or up to two years of forced labor or imprisonment.

In the most recent example, the “court” for the city of Sudak has convicted a nineteen-year-old resident of the city in a “criminal” case for “evading military service in the absence of legal grounds for dismissal from this service.”

The website of the Russian occupation administration noted that “the defendant, being physically fit for mandatory military service, not being in military reserves, not having a deferral from the mandatory conscription, and having no legal grounds for exemption from the said military service, did not arrive on the day appointed in the conscription order by the military commissariat of Sudak and did not report the reasons for his failure to arrive.”

Given that this was the defendant’s first attempt to avoid mandatory conscription into the Russian military, the “court” sentenced him to a monetary fine (such fines could be equal to up to eighteen months worth of defendant’s income or two hundred thousand rubles).

Russia occupied Crimea in 2014 and started the illegal mandatory conscription of Ukrainian citizens to the Russian military service in 2015. So far, it has conducted 13 illegal mass drafts of Ukrainian citizens from Crimea into its armed forces. In total, at least 31 thousand Crimeans have been drafted into the Russian military. In 2021, the invaders plan to conscript up to three thousand Crimean residents.

The conscription of the population of an occupied territory into the military of the occupying country is a violation of international humanitarian laws and the customs of war, as well as a war crime.

In April 2018, Ukraine demanded at the UN Security Council that the Russian Federation stop conscripting Crimean residents into the Russian military.

In October 2018, Ukraine filed suit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) claiming the illegal conscription of its citizens in occupied Crimea into the Russian military is yet more proof of the Russian Federation committing a war crime on the Crimean peninsula. In the spring of 2019, the office of the ICC prosecutor obtained evidence of the illegal conscription of Crimean residents into the Russian military. On December 14, 2020, the ICC released a new report on the situation in Ukraine after conducting a preliminary analysis of events during the Maidan, the seizure and occupation of Crimea by Russia and the war in Donbas. In particular, the report discusses the ongoing conscription coercion by the Russians, forcing Crimean residents to serve in the armed forces of a hostile state.

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Edited by: A. N.
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