Russia is subjecting cultural heritage workers and other civilians to the war crime of forced military labour.

Russia has been subjecting civilians in the occupied territories of Ukraine (legally-protected persons) to the war crime of forced military labour (also described as forced military service, forced mobilisation and compulsory enlistment) since 2015.

It has been sending some conscripts from Crimea to serve in Russia since 2015 and forcing some “volunteers” from Donetsk and Luhansk to serve in Russia since 2019. There, some soldiers have been forced to acquiesce to fighting in Ukraine, if ordered. It had also started sending conscripts from Crimea to fight in Syria by 2018.

Already by 2020, more than 25,000 Ukrainians had been forcibly conscripted by the Russian Federation and at least 140 had been sentenced to punishments from fines to imprisonment for the “crime” of refusing. Naturally, Russia underpins this programme with propaganda about war and incitement to hatred of Ukrainians. Although they had not been deployed, by 2022, more than 29,000 children had been indoctrinated and trained in a youth army.

[As relayed by the Verkhovna Rada’s (parliamentary) Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmila Denisova, according to human rights organisations that operate in the temporarily-occupied territories of Ukraine (ORDLO), the occupying administrations of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republic pseudo-states (the LPR and DPR or, further abbreviated, the L/DPR or LDPR) have now mobilised and deployed children from the age of 16. Ivan Shifman and an unknown number of other forced child soldiers have already died.]

As feared, the Russian Federation is now forcing men across the occupied territories of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk to fight across Ukraine.

As has been confirmed by two non-governmental organisations, Zmina (which promotes human rights and the rule of law) and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG), illegal conscripts will be recognised by Ukraine as victims of a war crime by Russia.

I can confirm that cultural heritage workers (like other civilians) have been forced to fight for the DPR / LPR (or, as they are now abbreviated, D/LPR or DLPR).

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