Russian authorities have announced that soldiers and officials deployed to fight in Ukraine will be exempt from income tax, Moscow’s latest attempt to encourage support for a military campaign against Kiev who has suffered several setbacks and defeats.
The new tax measure will cover all Russian troops fighting in the four Ukrainian territories Moscow has declared its own – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – although it does not fully control the four regions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday cited an exception contained in an anti-corruption law, details of which Russian authorities published on Thursday evening.
Soldiers, police, members of the security services and other state officials serving in the four regions are no longer required to provide information about “their income, their expenses, their assets,” according to the decree.
Russian troops in Ukraine also have the right to receive “rewards and gifts” if they are of a “humanitarian nature” and received as part of what Russia calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, according to the decree. Tax credit also applies to the spouses and children of those who serve and dates back to February 24, 2022 – the date Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
The Moscow Times reported Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree requiring government officials to disclose their income tax returns for the duration of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Prior to the decree, Russian law required officials to disclose income tax returns for themselves and their close relatives in an effort to curb endemic corruption. Military officers were also required to disclose their tax returns when they were appointed or dismissed,” the Moscow Times reported.
“The decree also exempts soldiers fighting in Ukraine and members of the security services from releasing their tax returns, as well as civil servants who have traveled to Russian-annexed regions of Ukraine for work,” the Times reported.
The Kremlin has rolled out a series of incentives for Russians fighting in Ukraine, offering cash bonuses and promising financial aid to families in the event of the death or injury of loved ones.
Earlier this week it was announced that Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine can make their move sperm frozen for free in cryobanks.
The news that the Russian state will fund sperm freezing for its armed forces follows reports in October that demand for sperm freezing had increased after Putin announced a partial mobilization to send more troops to support the war in Moscow.
Moscow’s mobilization campaign has incited hundreds of thousands of Russians flee the country to avoid conscription.
Thousands of Ukrainians have also fled to avoid joining the war, the German news agency DPA reported on Friday. DPA said “nearly 12,000 men were caught trying to cross the border illegally, in the direction of western countries”.
Citing Ukrainian border troops, the news agency said 15 men had died trying to flee the country to avoid military service, including “two reportedly frozen to death in the Carpathians on their way to Romania”.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that given the magnitude of Russian equipment and troop losses in Ukraine, it would take the Moscow army at least five years to recover its former strength.
“According to NATO intelligence, the Russians have suffered massive losses in tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers and soldiers,” Reznikov told Ukrainska Pravda media outlet. “The regular forces of the Russian Federation can be restored in five years at the earliest, maybe not in ten years,” he said.
Reznikov gave no details about Ukraine’s armed forces, but the parties did suffered heavy losses since the start of the war in February.
US General Mark Milley estimated in November that about 100,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded since the invasion in February. He said Kiev’s armed forces “probably” suffered a similar number of casualties.