Top Russian lawmakers have criticized “excesses” in Putin’s mobilization for war

Two senior Russian lawmakers on Sunday criticized those who carried out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move last week to enlist some 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine.

Valentina Matvienko, who headed the Federal Supreme Council of Russia, wrote in a telegram that she was aware that men unqualified to fight in the war had been called up for service, According to Reuters.

“Such abuses are totally unacceptable,” said Matvienko, a close ally of Putin. “I consider it absolutely right that they are causing a sharp reaction in society.”

Another Putin ally, Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the State Duma in Russia’s lower chamber, said he was also receiving complaints and that “if something went wrong, it was necessary to correct it.”

“Authorities at all levels must understand their responsibilities,” he wrote in a Telegram post, according to Reuters.

Putin announced the partial mobilization order last week after a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive pushed Russian forces back in the country’s northeast.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the order applies to reservists who previously served in the army or have special skills, but Putin’s decree is broad and anyone under the age of 65 is considered a reservist.

The president’s order sparked widespread protests on the day it was issued, and on Saturday, at least 1,300 Russian demonstrators in 40 cities. Thousands of Russians also tried to flee the country.

On Saturday, Putin signed a new bill toughening penalties for soldiers who disobey officers, leave the army or surrender in combat.

Along with top Russian lawmakers, the state-controlled news station RT has expressed concern about military recruiting offices “drive people crazy” by collecting Russians who should not be drafted.

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according to RTPutin signed another order exempting university students and professionals from conscription.

In his nationally televised address last week, Putin gave his support to referendums in the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, which the West called “spurious” and a pretext for illegal annexation by Moscow.

The Kremlin has reportedly begun to run referendum voting operations in Ukraine’s Kherson regions, as well as the southern Zaporizhzhya, eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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