Russian troops who have been mobilised to fight in Ukraine will have the right to get their sperm frozen for free in cryobanks, Russia’s state news agency TASS has reported.
Citing Igor Trunov, chairman of the Russian Union of Lawyers, TASS reported on Wednesday that Russia’s health ministry responded to his appeal for budgetary assistance for soldiers who want to avail themselves of such services.
The ministry “determined the possibility of financial support from the federal budget for free conservation and storage of germ cells (spermatozoa) for citizens mobilised to participate in the special military operation for 2022-2024”, Trunov was quoted as saying.
Suffering a litany of defeats and setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has called up more than 300,000 reservists to support its grinding war effort in Ukraine.
Reports of an increase in demand for sperm freezing first emerged in October in a report in Russia’s Moskovskij Komsomolets newspaper which claimed that after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation to support the war in Ukraine there had been a surge in sperm freezing, the BBC’s Russian correspondent Steve Rosenberg reported at the time.
“In the past, it was people with chronic illnesses who were the main customers. Now it’s healthy men freezing their sperm, in case something happens to them, so that they can have the guaranteed possibility to become fathers,” Rosenberg cited the newspaper as reporting.
One of today’s Russian papers reports growing anxiety in Russian society: “Partial mobilisation changes a lot…panic and depression become the norm.” Plus, why Russian men eligible for the draft are heading to sperm banks. #ReadingRussia https://t.co/P6WjSGqScc pic.twitter.com/676RZk94TB
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) October 4, 2022
US General Mark Milley estimated in November that about 100,000 Russian soldiers have either been killed or wounded since the invasion of Ukraine began in February. He also said that Kyiv’s armed forces have “probably” suffered a similar level of casualties.
Moscow’s mobilisation drive also prompted hundreds of thousands of Russian men to flee the country to avoid being conscripted, and also sparked anti-Kremlin protests.