Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing the mobilization of people who have committed serious crimes, RIA news agency said on Friday.
This includes those whose records have been expunged as well as those with existing convictions.
The law excludes those convicted of child sex abuse, treason, spying or terrorism, RIA said. Also excluded are those convicted of the attempted assassination of a government official, hijacking an aircraft, extremist activity and illegal handling of nuclear materials and radioactive substances.
Putin also said on Friday that Russia had mobilized 318,000 people into its armed forces, Interfax reported. This exceeds the initial goal of 300,000 set by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Circumstances of the mobilization
Putin on Sept. 21 announced a "partial mobilization" amid a series of military setbacks in Ukraine. Interfax reported
Out of the 300,000 that were called up as part of partial mobilization, 87,000 were sent to the front lines in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday, according to Interfax.
The Wagner Group
Russia has also been collecting prisoners and vulnerable citizens to serve in the Russian Wagner Group private military company, which is currently working in tandem with the regular Russian armed forces.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported on Oct. 25 that prisoners with HIV and Hepatitis C had been recruited by the Wagner Group.
The Wagner Group, according to Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), is mostly comprised of Russian ex-convicts who were recruited out of prison.