Russia has now announced a stop to its “partial mobilization” of citizens to fight in the country’s war on Ukraine.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Monday that all partial mobilization activities, including summons deliveries, have been suspended.
The ministry added that “all activities related to conscription for military service” have been halted.
Military units will only be accepting volunteers and contractors from now on, the statement continued.
Commenting on behalf of the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the ministry said that the commanders of military districts and the Northern Fleet were sent orders to submit reports on the completion of partial mobilization activities by November 1.
The ministry’s announcement does not constitute an official end to the country’s partial mobilization, however. This can only be done with an official decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The “partial mobilization” of citizens to fight in the country’s war on Ukraine has been beset by errors, caused angry protests and prompted a mass exodus since it was announced in September.
Protests have erupted in ethnic minority regions, and some military enlistment offices have been set on fire. The original announcement also sparked rare anti-war demonstrations across Russia.
The country was forced to heighten security measures at military registration and enlistment offices “due to increasing attacks” on those facilities, a senior Russian official said in a previous CNN report.
Two gunmen said to be from former Soviet states opened fire on Russian military recruits on October 15 during a training session in the Belgorod region, killing 11 people, state news agency TASS reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry as a source.
Alexander Khinshtein, a deputy in the Russian parliament, said on Telegram that “intruders” have also been caught “red-handed” trying to launch an attack on military enlistment centers. A man opened fire at one such building late last month, seriously injuring a commander, state media reported.
Early on in the process, some residents in Russia’s Far East Sakha Republic were conscripted “by mistake” despite not being eligible for mobilization, such as fathers of underage children, according to a local leader there.
Countless Russians have fled the country as a result of the partial mobilization. More than 200,000 people traveled from Russia into Georgia, Kazakhstan and the European Union in just the first week, collective data from those regions showed.
“I was angry and afraid,” Vadim, who left Russia for Kazakhstan with his grandmother after the announcement, told CNN this month. “We don’t want this war … we can’t change something in our country, though we have tried.”
The benefits of the mobilization have also been questionable. It is unclear whether the influx of newly-trained recruits has had any impact in ground fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Kyiv has seen gains in recent weeks.
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