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Little Green Babies: Crimean Newborns Handed Military Draft Notices

Welcome to the world, kid -- and don't forget to report for duty in 16 years.

Three newborn babies were presented with military draft notices along with their birth certificates last week by the Russian authorities who control the Crimean Peninsula.

The boys were given the notices by the chief Russian military recruiting officer in the Simferopol district of Crimea, the Moscow-installed Justice Ministry for the region said on its website.

The documents were presented as part of a celebration of "the glorious sons of Russia" marking Defenders of the Fatherland Day, the February 23 holiday honoring the Russian military -- and, unofficially, all Russian men.

The ministry said the notices indicated the boys should report for military service on January 24, 2032.

That date was a mistake, according to the website, which pointed out that Russian males are obliged to register for military service when they turn 17 -- an age the three boys will not reach until 2033.

Russia seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after supporting a takeover of the regional legislature, sending in troops widely known as "little green men" for their unmarked uniforms, and staging a referendum dismissed around the world as illegitimate.

With reporting by and
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    Steve Gutterman

    Steve Gutterman is the editor of the Russia/Ukraine/Belarus Desk in RFE/RL's Central Newsroom in Prague and the author of The Week In Russia newsletter. He lived and worked in Russia and the former Soviet Union for nearly 20 years between 1989 and 2014, including postings in Moscow with the AP and Reuters. He has also reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as other parts of Asia, Europe, and the United States.

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