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Vladimir Putin has signed secret law ‘to call up a million men’ to fight in Ukraine, according to leaked Kremlin report

‘Trampling’: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a high level meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York yesterday. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Vladimir Putin has secretly approved a law that could send a further one million men to fight in Ukraine, according to information leaked from the Kremlin.

The target, revealed to a Russian newspaper, is more than triple the number given under Mr Putin’s “partial mobilisation” plan.

The new figure is likely to exacerbate fears of conscription among Russians – a worry that has already sparked mass protests and queues to leave the country since the plan was announced on Wednesday.

It comes as some protesters detained at the anti-war rallies were threatened with deployment to the frontlines and reports that men with no military experience were being called up, despite the Kremlin’s assurances that would not happen.

Stories emerged from the remote region of Buryatia, a major source of soldiers in the first wave of the invasion, that university students were being pulled straight out of class.

Its regional government confirmed reports that at least 11 schools were shut down yesterday to be used as mobilisation points and school buses will now be used to ship conscripts.

According to Novaya Gazeta, an exiled independent newspaper, citing an anonymous Kremlin source, the redacted Section 7 of Putin’s decree states that up to one million men could be mobilised.
When asked about the redacted section, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, confirmed that it contains the mobilisation target but said the one million figure “is a lie”.
About 1,300 people were taken away by police at protests in more than 30 cities on Wednesday, where officers beat up and detained men and women who were campaigning against the Kremlin’s partial mobilisation order.

There were also reports that administration and conscription offices were targeted by arsonists overnight.

At least 15 people who were detained in Moscow and one person in Voronezh were handed a summons ordering them to show up at an army draft office, the police monitoring group OVD Info said.
Anti-war protesters already faced hefty fines and potential jail time for taking part in rallies.

World leaders at the United Nations yesterday called for Moscow to be held accountable for human rights violations in Ukraine as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow’s war and accused its neighbour of committing atrocities.

Addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on atrocities committed in Ukraine since Russia’s February 24 invasion, Lavrov accused Ukraine of creating threats against Russian security and “brazenly trampling” the rights of Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine.

“I can assure you that we will never accept this,” said Lavrov, who came to the chamber to speak and then left.
He said countries supplying weapons to Ukraine and training its soldiers were parties to the conflict, adding that “the intentional fomenting of this conflict by the collective West remained unpunished.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that Washington would continue to support Ukraine to defend itself.

“The very international order we’ve gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We can’t let President Putin get away with it,” Blinken told the council.
The Security Council meeting yesterday took place during the annual gathering of world leaders for the UN General Assembly.

The council has been unable to take any meaningful action on Ukraine because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the United States, France, Britain and China.
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan told the council there were “reasonable grounds” to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed in Ukraine.
UN chief Antonio Guterres told the meeting that talk of a nuclear conflict is “totally unacceptable.”

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
Referendums on joining Russia are due to take place from today until Tuesday in several largely Russian-held regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the priority was to resume dialogue without pre-conditions and for both sides to exercise restraint and not escalate tensions. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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