KEY POINTS

  • Employees of Byelorussian Steel Works have also been handed the summonses
  • Doctors have been asked to sign documents that ban them from leaving the country 
  • Conscripts were informed by officers that the call was just to ensure "things were alright"

Thousands of people in the Gomel Oblast of Belarus have reportedly received calls from the government to enlist themselves in military service. This comes days after Russia's ally Belarus announced the start of mobilization exercises in the Gomel.

The Ministry of Defense has begun sending mass subpoenas to people in the last three or four days, reported Zerkalo, an independent Belarusian news outlet.

According to Andrey, a resident of Svetlogorsk and T-72 tank mechanics, he received a call from the military registration and enlistment office on June 26. "On Monday morning, they called from the personnel department. They said to come on June 30, for a couple of hours. I don't know whether to take anything with me or not," the 37-year-old man told the news outlet.

Many employees of Byelorussian Steel Works have also been handed the summonses at work on June 28. " People who were at home on vacation were called too. No one said anything, we are in a panic," an unnamed resident of Zhlobin was quoted by the news outlet.

Not just in Svetlogorsk and Zhlobin, people from other regions of Gomel, including Rechitsa, Mozyr, Yelsk and Khoiniki, were also served subpoenas. The report added that those who never served in the military were told to enlist. More than 1,000 subpoenas were handed out in the Khimvolokne region alone.

Doctors and female nurses too have been asked to enlist and some sign documents promising not to leave the country. There are allegations that people who are not otherwise fit for military service have been asked to enlist.

Though the subpoenas do not really indicate the reason why the receiver should appear at the military registration and enlistment office, they do contain a clause warning legal action for non-appearance.

However, according to a few who already appeared for the registration, no further proceedings were carried out. Zhlobin resident Yury, who served in the missile forces seven years ago, was at the military registration and enlistment office on June 29. "I still do not know the reason for the call. They said it was in connection with "mobilization exercises," but they let me go home immediately," he said.

Yevgeny from Khoiniki, who arrived at the enlistment office, was told that the conscripts were called in to ensure everything was in place. "The training camp is connected with the exercises in the Gomel region. Teams are formed from those who have already served. So far, at this stage, everything is calm, they have assembled a team and we were told to go home. That is, there is no urgency. It was to make sure that everything is in place," he told Zerkalo.

Belarus has been conducting military exercises in the Gomel region, which borders Ukraine, since June 22.

Joint military drills of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus in the Brest Region
A helicopter flies over troops during the joint military drills of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus at a firing range in the Brest Region, Belarus February 19, 2022. Vadim Yakubyonok/Belta/Handout via REUTERS Reuters / BELTA
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