Russia’s war in Ukraine: Live updates

Newly recruited Russians receive combat arms in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, on Saturday, September 24.
Newly recruited Russians receive combat arms in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, on Saturday, September 24. (Eyepress/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed several amendments to the country’s criminal code, making wartime punishments for various crimes more severe.

Under the amendments, published Saturday on the government’s legal portal, crimes such as refusing to follow the orders of a superior officer in time of war, during an armed conflict or combat operations, or refusing to participate in military or combat operations during these times, they can result in prison terms of up to 10 years.

“Federal law also introduces criminal liability for military personnel for voluntary surrender, as well as criminal liability for looting during martial law, in time of war or in conditions of armed conflict or combat operations,” according to a statement from the Kremlin on the amendments.

The punishment for those sentenced to prison for committing particularly serious crimes can now be replaced by hard labor or other lighter punishment only when at least two-thirds of the prison term has been served, according to the Kremlin statement.

The Russian president also signed a law that would punish the violation of the terms of a state contract in the field of state defense, especially if such a violation caused damage to the state in an amount of at least 5 % of the contract price and at least 5 million rubles (about $86,000), as well as breach of contract.

Exemption from punishment is possible “if violations are voluntarily eliminated,” the Kremlin statement said.

some context: In the wake of Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive this month, Putin and Russian authorities have taken a series of steps to bolster the country’s military and crack down on dissent at home.

Some 300,000 reservists have been called up for military service in what Putin calls a “partial mobilization.”

Nearly 1,500 anti-war protesters have been detained in cities across Russia since the announcement, with some recruited directly into the military, according to a monitoring group. The punishment in Russia for rejecting the draft is now 15 years in prison.

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