Russian lawyers overwhelmed by requests for help in Ukraine

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Russian lawyers overwhelmed by requests for help in Ukraine

Russian lawyers say they are not working out to offer advice to those at risk of being sent to fight in Ukraine because they are swamped by panic-stricken requests for help to avoid being drafted.

Lawyers and civil society groups say they have been overwhelmed by demands for support since President Vladimir Putin announced on Sept 21 that 300,000 people would be mobilised to boost Russia's flagging war effort.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to countries such as Kazakhstan, Georgia and Finland. Many more remain in Russia and are hiding from military recruiters, praying they won't be summoned or hoping for exemptions from service.

Sergei Krivenko, a group of around 10 lawyers called Citizen, said we are working round the clock. He said that people are being torn from their normal lives. This is a mobilisation without a time limit during a war. It could last a long time. It's possible that people won't return.Leaving the army is pretty much impossible. There is no way to death, injury or prison for disobeying orders. The implementation of the mobilisation has been chaotic. Although billed as enlisting those with military experience and required specialties, it has often appeared oblivious to individuals' service record, health, student status or even age.

Putin acknowledged mistakes last week and said they had to be corrected. Putin said that he was thinking of fathers of many children, or people suffering from chronic diseases, or those who are already past the conscription age.

The governor of the far eastern region of Khabarovsk said on Monday that the military commissar there had been fired after half of the newly mobilised men were sent home because they did not meet the criteria to be called up.