Russia to give troops who surrender 10 years in prison unless they are able to flee captivity

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law amending Russia's Criminal Code to give a 10-year prison sentence to any serviceman who volunteers to serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
"This is the classic Putin playbook — he's a master of checkmate," Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and author of "Putin's Playbook: Russia's Secret Plan to Defeat America," told Fox News Digital. "It is an impossible choice that Russian men face today - either you die on the battlefield or you rot in prison."
Putin's move comes after he announced last week a partial mobilization in Russia that introduced conscription in a conflict that has dragged on for seven months and has rarely gone according to plan for Moscow. Now those conscripted into military service face harsh penalties if they give up fighting in Ukraine.
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WHILE UKRAINE ESTABLISHES A COUNTER-OFFENSION, PUTIN ACHIEVES CONTRACTION TO STRENGTHEN THE MILITARY INVASION
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
Russian troops who are first-time offenders, escape from captivity and are able to return to their unit will be exempted from prison.
However, Koffler does not believe the move will solve the problems Russia has been experiencing on the battlefield, which have multiplied after a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in September.
"Not only will this step not solve the problem of Russia's declining combat capability in Ukraine now - partial mobilization will not bring tangible results for a few months - but it will have profound negative consequences for Russia and its military in the long term," she said.
Putin has proposed a deferment for students at universities and vocational colleges to continue their studies, in addition to the penal code amendment, with only students entering secondary school for the first time being eligible for a deferment.
RUSSIAN TROOPS PACKED UP BY UKRAINIAN FORCES AND THE RIVER DNIEPER SINKS BOATS CARRYING SUPPLIES TO RUSSIAN TROOPS
The order to exempt students from partial mobilization is retroactive to September 21, the day Putin signed the mobilization.
However, many young Russian men will remain subject to the country's military service, a move that Koffler said could have disastrous consequences as the country grapples with a "demographic crisis." Russia currently has a fertility rate of 1.5, Koffler pointed out, well below the 2.1 replacement rate that allows a country to maintain population levels.
Russian military and pro-Russian separatists watch as civilians are evacuated along humanitarian corridors from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, March 24, 2022.
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"The elimination of an entire segment of males aged 18 to 55 of childbearing age is strategically a catastrophic move," she argued. “It will have a negative impact not only on the Russian military, but also on the future of Russian society. It is a tragedy for the Russian people.”
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

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