The Russian Armed Forces began recruiting foreigners, including prisoners, for the war in Ukraine

In recent weeks, there have been many reports in the media that migrants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan working in the Russian Federation began to receive conscription notices, despite the fact that they do not have Russian citizenship. On October 12, a citizen of Uzbekistan living in Moscow reported that he had received a conscription notice stating that he should come to the military registration and enlistment office: “I live in Moscow, but I have never been a citizen of the Russian Federation. Accordingly, I cannot stand on any military registration. I have already applied to the Embassy of Uzbekistan, they told me to come and write a statement, and they also warned me that I should not go anywhere as the conscription notice suggests.”

In addition, relatives of convicted Uzbeks held in Russian prisons and colonies began to report recruitment to the Russian Armed Forces and private military companies. They claim that various methods, including torture, are used to recruit their relatives to participate in the Russian war against Ukraine.

According to a citizen of Uzbekistan, the administration of a correctional facility in Bashkortostan is forcing his brother to go to the war in Ukraine:

“My brother has been in prison in Bashkortostan for several years. They want to force him to go to war. He has not yet been taken to Ukraine, because he will not sign, but he is beaten every day in his cell. Prisoners who agree to go to war are promised big money and reduced sentences. I don’t even know how to help my brother. I don’t even know for how long he would last.”

Olga Romanova, the head of the Russia Behind Bars organisation, writes about numerous appeals from prisoners — citizens of Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan — who are being recruited by the private military company “Wagner” for the war in Ukraine.

According to Article 15 of the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”, foreign citizens cannot be called up for military service, therefore the actions of the Russian authorities to attract foreign citizens to serve in the army are illegal and must be immediately stopped.

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