Russia Unveils New Punishment For Deserters

( The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, last week approved a bill that imposes harsher punishments for desertion, damage to military property, looting, defection, and insubordination when committed during a military mobilization or combat situation.

The bill, which was approved last Wednesday, comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree calling for a partial mobilization of “reservists” to fight in Ukraine.

In response to Putin’s decree, thousands of military-age Russian men began fleeing the country to avoid conscription.

Russian media reported that flights out of the country quickly sold out after Putin signed the decree.

With Russian men making their way out of the country, European countries neighboring Russia responded by closing their borders, shutting off every border crossing between Russia and Europe.

With Europe closed off, Russian men began fleeing elsewhere.

NBC News reported on Monday that Russians are now fleeing to Georgia, Kazakhstan, and even Mongolia to escape Putin’s conscription order and Russian border guards aren’t trying to stop them.

The Duma-approved bill replaced the phrase “during armed conflicts or military actions” with the broader phrase “in the period of mobilization or the state of martial law, as well as during wartime or while armed conflict and combat activities are underway.”

All Russian men ages 18-27 are required to serve in the military for one year. About 300,000 are expected to be mobilized to join the fight in Ukraine.

Putin’s conscription order aims to increase the number of combat troops by around 10 percent to 1.15 million while raising the total military count to 2.04 million.

No official reason for the decree was provided by the Kremlin, which had promised the Russian people a quick victory in its “special military operation” in Ukraine.