scorecard
  1. Home
  2. international
  3. news
  4. Ukraine lawmakers just passed a bill that'll allow the country to mimic Russia's tactic of drafting convicts to fight in the war

Ukraine lawmakers just passed a bill that'll allow the country to mimic Russia's tactic of drafting convicts to fight in the war

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan   

Ukraine lawmakers just passed a bill that'll allow the country to mimic Russia's tactic of drafting convicts to fight in the war
  • Ukraine's parliament passed a bill on Wednesday to conscript inmates to fight Russia.
  • The bill, if enacted, imitates the Russian approach of using prisoners to fuel its war efforts.

Lawmakers in Ukraine passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow the country's military to recruit prisoners to fight on the battlefield.

The bill, which has yet to be signed into law by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will allow Ukraine to mimic the Russian tactic of drafting convicts for their war effort.

"The only way to survive in an all-out war against an enemy with more resources is to consolidate all forces. This draft law is about our struggle and preservation of Ukrainian statehood," Olena Shulyak, the head of Zelenskyy's party, said in a post on Telegram.

Russia has long been relying on prisoners to plug its manpower gaps, with some inmates being promised full pardons if they survive a six month stint on the battlefield. In fact, Russia's reliance on convicts has even caused its prison population to plummet, per the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

In October, the country's Deputy Justice Minister Vsevolod Vukolov revealed that Russia's prison population has dropped from 420,000 before the war to a historic low of 266,000, per The Washington Post.

But while Russia hasn't imposed many restrictions on which prisoners they conscript, the Ukrainian bill is a lot more particular on who gets selected.

For instance, prisoners who have been convicted of violent crimes such as terrorism, premeditated murder, or rape will not be allowed to participate. In addition, prisoners will only be eligible for the scheme if they have less than three years left on their sentences.

"Prisoners who have a longer period left to serve in prison — and those sentenced to life imprisonment all the more so — will be immediately rejected without the right of reconsideration," Shulyak told Ukrainian news outlet Pravda.

Roughly 15,000 to 20,000 prisoners are expected to be mobilized if the bill is enacted, Pravda reported on Wednesday.

The passing of the bill comes at a precarious time for Ukraine, which has to reckon with what US officials are calling a reinvigorated Russian army. Last month, Ukraine reduced the draft age from 27 to 25 in a bid to bolster its troop numbers.

Russia's armed forces have grown larger after the country decided to raise its maximum conscription age from 27 to 30.

"The army is actually now larger — by 15 percent — than it was when it invaded Ukraine," US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli said in a House Armed Services Committee hearing last month.

Representatives for Ukraine's defense ministry didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.


Popular Right Now




Advertisement