Putin signs law to conscript people charged with serious crimes



Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to conscript people charged with serious crimes, including murder, robbery, larceny, drug trafficking and other outstanding criminal activities, into military service under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, multiple media outlets reported.

The move legitimizes hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens previously forbidden from serving in the military, including those sentenced to probation and those released from colonies.

Criminals who committed sex crimes against minors, treason, spying, terrorism and other extreme offenders were exempted from the decree.

Interfax reported on Friday that Putin said Moscow had mobilized 318,000 people into its armed forces after announcing a "partial mobilization" in late September.

Moscow has experienced a series of military setbacks as the Ukrainian conflict entered its eighth month. Meanwhile, Ukraine has faced attacks against its energy sector as Moscow continues to target Kyiv's energy and water infrastructure, leading to rolling blackouts meant to protect its power grid from failing.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the Biden administration is now "privately encouraging" Ukrainian leaders to drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless Putin is removed from power.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the discussions, the paper said the American officials claimed it was not to push Ukraine to the negotiating table but "a calculated attempt to ensure the government in Kyiv maintains the support of other nations facing constituencies wary of fueling a war for many years to come."

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's ban on talks with Putin had generated "concern in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where effects on costs of food and fuel are felt most sharply," the publication said, citing the sources.

Washington has previously vowed to support Kyiv with massive sums of aid "for as long as it takes."