The Kremlin exempted employees in the IT sector, banks and state media journalists from mobilization

Many Russians left the country after the mobilization decree. Photo: Reuters

Among the exceptions are citizens with a university education who work in accredited organizations in the field of information technologies, in state media and employees in organizations that ensure the stability of the national payment system and financial market infrastructure or manage bank liquidity and cash circulation, reports the Russian news agency Tass .

As the ministry explained, some sectors are excluded in order to “ensured smooth work in the field of information technologies, as well as the Russian financial system”writes the BBC.

“Employers must compile a list of workers who meet the criteria and submit it to the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces to serve as a basis for exempting these citizens from conscription,” they also announced.

However, many experts warn that the wording of the decree on mobilization is unclear, which could allow it to be expanded if necessary. One of the paragraphs is also completely confidential. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the paragraph referred to the total number of Russians who could be drafted, which he said could not be disclosed.

How many more Russians will the Kremlin conscript into the army? Photo: Reuters

Earlier, the independent newspaper Nova Gazeta reported – citing an unnamed government source – that the redacted part allowed up to one million people to be drafted, not the 300,000 as the public had been told.

The announcement of partial mobilization sparked protests in many Russian cities, with more than 1,300 people arrested, according to the BBC. According to the activists, some of them have already been ordered to report for mobilization at the police stations. In response to a journalist’s question about this, Peskov said that this is not against the law.

The Czech Republic refused asylum to Russians on the run, Germany for a common position

The Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, which border Russia, announced on Wednesday that they would not grant asylum to Russian citizens fleeing conscription. Similarly, the Czech Republic announced that it will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens. This is what the Czech foreign minister claimed Jan Lipavsky.

The German government, however, wants to reach a common position at the European level in the coming weeks on how to deal with Russians who want to avoid conscription, after the Russian president announced a partial mobilization on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Czech presidency has already called the talks on the formation of a common position for Monday.

“The fact that many Russian men are trying to avoid military service in Ukraine is a good sign,” a German government spokesman said in Berlin Steffen Hebestreit and added that it is now necessary to find a viable solution for them together with other member states of the European Union. In doing so, he also emphasized that before granting asylum, the motives of all those who allegedly have a conscientious objection should be examined and it should be clearly established that they are not working for the Russian state.

For now, neither in Germany nor at the EU level are there any plans for a special admission program or so-called humanitarian visas for those fleeing conscription. Spokesman of the German Ministry of the Interior Maximilian Kall however, he said that the admissions procedures in Germany had already been changed in April, so that opposition to the mobilization of Russians was a sufficient reason for protection. Germany has so far accepted 438 people from Russia within the framework of the program, which is supposed to offer protection to dissidents, journalists and scientists.

The Poles are also against the reception of the Russians

The Polish authorities have also announced that they will not offer asylum to those with conscientious objection. “We will not allow any group of Russians to enter Poland outright, not even those who claim to be fleeing mobilization,” said the Deputy Minister of the Interior Marcin Wasik. He explained that this would be too dangerous, as even those who said they did not want to serve in the Russian army and were fleeing war could have connections with the Russian secret services.

“Only in individual cases, if a Russian citizen proves that he is at risk of torture or persecution for political reasons in Russia, Poland could apply the asylum rules and grant him protection,” Wasik continued.

Crowded at the border crossing between Russia and Georgia. Photo: Reuters

Crowded at the border crossing between Russia and Georgia. Photo: Reuters

Crowded at the border crossings with Georgia and Kazakhstan

Meanwhile, there are still long lines of vehicles at the border crossings with Russia, in which there are mainly many Russians who want to avoid possible conscription. Long queues wind up at the border with Georgia, where some even went by bicycle to bypass the lines of cars. Georgia is one of the few neighboring countries that Russians can enter without having to apply for a visa. Russians do not need a visa upon entry even in Kazakhstan, where the border service has confirmed that the number of people entering from Russia has significantly increased.

Even on the 1,300-kilometer-long border with Finland, where Russians otherwise need visas to enter, the authorities report increased traffic, but emphasize that it is at a manageable level. The Finnish authorities have therefore announced that they will significantly limit the entry of Russian citizens. Due to serious damage to Finland’s international position, the Ministerial Committee for Foreign and Security Policy has decided that the granting of new visas will also be limited, the government announced in a statement.

In other destinations that can be reached by plane, such as Constantinople, Belgrade or Dubai, ticket prices rose immediately after the announcement of the army conscription, and some destinations were completely sold out.

Kadyrov (for now) refused to mobilize in Chechnya

Chechen leader and main ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin Ramzan Kadyrov said in a television interview that Chechen mothers and wives can remain calm, making it clear that there will be no general mobilization.

He said that so far 20,000 Chechens have been sent to the war in Ukraine, which means that the country has more than fulfilled its plans. “In addition, Chechnya still has several thousand volunteers in reserve who, if necessary, will be able to join the ranks for its defense.”

He also said that Chechnya had changed its plan “by 254 percent (…) Even before the partial mobilization in Russia, we formed a new Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.”

Zelenski accused the Russians of complicity in war crimes

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russians on Thursday to resist partial mobilization. “In these six months of war, 55,000 Russian soldiers died,” Zelensky said in his regular nightly address. “You want more? No? Then protest. Fight. Run. Or surrender to the Ukrainian army”he urged.

He accused the Russians of being complicit in crimes in Ukraine. “You are already complicit in all these crimes, murders and tortures of Ukrainians. Because you were silent. Because you are silent. And now it’s time to choose: for men in Russia, it’s a choice to die or live, to become disabled or to preserve health. For women in Russia have a choice to lose their husbands, sons, grandchildren forever, or still try to protect them from death, from war, from one man (Putin).” he continued.

In his address to the Ukrainians, Zelensky said that Russia’s partial mobilization is a sign of Kiev’s strength. This, in his opinion, means that the war will no longer be just a televised event for the Russians, but will enter real life.

Fighting in the Donetsk Basin continues

On a day when referendums on joining Russia are being held in the territories of four Ukrainian regions, the Ukrainian army is reporting successes on the battlefields of the Donetsk Basin. According to a representative of the Ukrainian military Oleksija Gromov the village of Jackivka in the Donetsk region, which together with the Lugansk region forms the Donetsk Basin, is again under Kiev’s control, and the same applies to positions south of Bakhmut, which is close to the front line and has been the target of Russian shelling for the past few weeks.

The Ukrainian General Staff announced in the morning report of the developments on the battlefields along the front line that the Russian forces are most active precisely in the Donetsk region, but that the Ukrainian defenders there have stopped any advance of the Russian army.

Kiev also announced that in the port city of Odesa, two Iranian-made drones attacked an administrative building, killing one civilian. One of these Shahed-136 aircraft was reportedly destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses.

A mass grave was discovered near the city of Izhyum in eastern Ukraine. Photo: EPA

A mass grave was discovered near the city of Izhyum in eastern Ukraine. Photo: EPA

UN investigators found war crimes in Ukraine

The UN Commission of Inquiry has announced that it has found several war crimes committed in Ukraine. Among them are Russian bombings of civilian areas, numerous executions, torture and sexual violence, team leader Erik Mose said at the UN Human Rights Council.

The investigation by three human rights experts initially focused on the initial phase of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February and March this year, and on the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy. While visiting these areas, the commission discovered a large-scale execution. The victims were often tied up before death, many with gunshot wounds to the head or slit throats.

Head of the team of investigators Mose mentioned that Russian forces also used explosive devices in populated areas, causing great damage and suffering to the civilian population. In several attacks, the attackers did not distinguish between civilians and soldiers, so they also used cluster munitions in densely populated areas.

Mose also added that eyewitnesses gave consistent testimony about torture and abuse in captivity. Some victims said that they were taken to Russia and kept there for several weeks, while others were lost. Torture methods include beatings and electric shocks.

Russia and Ukraine the main topic at the UN

Confirmed cases of sexual abuse of children

The group also confirmed cases of sexual and gender-based violence. In some cases, they have already established that the perpetrators were Russian soldiers. In some cases, relatives had to watch the crimes. According to Mose, victims of sexual and gender-based violence range in age from four to 82 years old.

They also discovered several crimes against children, including rape, torture and illegal detention.

Ukrainian forces also committed abuses

Among the war crimes, the commission also found two cases where Ukrainian forces abused Russian soldiers. “Although these cases are few, we pay attention to them,” he said.

According to Mose, the investigation is currently underway in 16 places, and the commission has received credible tips about many other cases that it will try to investigate.

Among them is the city of Izhyum in the Kharkiv region, where the Ukrainian army discovered a mass grave after retaking control. Regional Governor Oleg Sinegubov announced that 436 bodies had already been exhumed from the burial ground. “Today we are completing the exhumation of the bodies from the mass grave in the city of Izjum. A total of 436 bodies were exhumed, most of them have signs of violent death, and 30 have signs of torture,” he wrote on social networks.

He also noted that many of the bodies had their hands tied, ropes around their necks, broken limbs and gunshot wounds, and several men had their genitals amputated. “All this is evidence of the terrible torture to which the attackers exposed the inhabitants of Izjum,” he added.

The article is in Slovenian

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