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The Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) says more than 18,800 residents in Russian-occupied Crimea were illegally conscripted into the Russian army from 2015 to 2019.

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"This spring, an illegal conscription campaign was once again held in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. As a result, 3,400 Crimeans were forced to serve in the armed forces of the Russian Federation," the ARC's prosecutor's office said on its Telegram channel on October 3.

At the same time, since the beginning of 2019, the occupying so-called "law enforcement agencies" have initiated about 20 criminal cases against Crimeans for "evading military service" in the Russian army. In 17 of them, guilty verdicts have been handed down. A total of 73 criminal proceedings were opened from 2015-2019. Some 67 unlawful sentences to local residents for "evading draft" in the Russian Federation have already been issued.

"The autumn conscription campaign was launched on October 1, 2019. So, the occupation authorities, despite a gross violation of the norms of the Geneva Convention IV, continue to commit war crimes, forcing the residents of the occupied peninsula to serve in the army of the Russian Federation," the report said.

The ARC prosecutor's office provides procedural guidance in criminal proceedings on the fact of the illegal calling Crimeans up for military service in the Russian army under Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violation of rules of the warfare).

UNIAN memo. Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia.

On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.

The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.

Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.