Top Russian lawmakers slam ‘excesses’ of Putin’s war mobilization

Two high-ranking Russian lawmakers on Sunday criticized those carrying out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move last week to draw up some 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine.

Valentina Matviyenko, who chairs Russia’s upper legislative chamber the Federation Council, wrote in a Telegram post that she was aware of men who are ineligible to fight in the war getting called up to serve, according to Reuters.

“Such excesses are absolutely unacceptable,” said Matviyenko, a close Putin ally. “I consider it absolutely right that they are triggering a sharp reaction in society.”

Another Putin ally, Vyacheslav Volodin, the Speaker of Russia’s lower chamber the State Duma, said he was also receiving complaints and that “if mistake is made, it is necessary to correct it.”

“Authorities at every level should understand their responsibilities,” he wrote in a Telegram post, per Reuters.

Putin announced the partial mobilization order last week after a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed back Russian troops in the northeast of the country.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the order applies to reservists who previously served in the military or had special skills, but Putin’s decree is broad and anyone up to the age of 65 is considered a reservist.

The president’s order drew widespread protests on the day it was issued, and on Saturday, at least 1,300 Russian protesters were detained across 40 cities. Thousands of Russians have also been attempting to flee the country.

On Saturday, Putin signed a new bill that toughens punishments for soldiers who disobey officers, desert the army or surrender in combat.

Along with the top Russian lawmakers, state-controlled news station RT expressed concern about military conscription offices “driving people mad” by rounding up Russians who should not be drafted.

According to RT, Putin signed another order exempting university and vocational students from being drafted.

In his nationally televised address last week, Putin also gave his backing to referendums in Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine, which the West has called a “sham” and pretext for illegal annexation by Moscow.

The Kremlin reportedly began administering referendum votes in the Ukrainian regions of Kherson, as well as the southern Zaporizhzhia and the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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