Russia Mulls Military Contracts for Mercenaries

Source: Moscow Times

The Russian military may begin recruiting soldiers for short, special, one-off military tasks around the globe.

Just days after the Russian government’s authorization of an indefinite combat mission in Syria, the State Duma is considering another military maneuver: changing the law on military service to offer short-term contracts to Russians eager to fight in specific wars. It is a move that experts say is aimed at formalizing the status of unrecognized Russian mercenary forces fighting abroad.

As things currently stand, Russia’s military service laws set a mandatory minimum of six-to-twelve months on short-term military contracts – which can only be offered in emergency situations, such as natural disasters, restoring constitutional order, or peacekeeping missions. The amendment, if adopted, would allow for contracts of any length below six months to be offered.

Russian private military outfits, such as the infamous Wagner mercenary unit, have been reported by a variety of Russian and international media outlets as doing the majority of on-the-ground fighting for the Russian military in Syria. However, these groups are supposedly banned by Russian law, and therefore present a problem for the Russian government.

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