Is it politically acceptable to incentivize soldiers of another country to desert?

The Politicus
Mar 03, 2022 06:29 PM 0 Answers
Member Since Sep 2018
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If the USA (or another western country) wants to help Ukraine without sending troops, one thing it can do is to convince Russian soldiers in Ukraine to desert the Russian army, for example, by promising a green card to any soldier who abandons his post. As many Russian soldiers are poor, and do not entirely support Putin, this deal might be attractive to them. Clearly, only few soldiers will be able to get out, but even if one or two soldiers escapes, this might affect the morale of remaining soldiers. Instead of thinking how to beat the Ukrainians, they might think how to escape.

Question: does it break any international law or treaty, to pay soldiers of another country to abandon their duty? Are there any other repercussions to this idea?

BTW, It is interesting to note that, in the present war in Ukraine, both sides have directly called on soldiers of the other side to defect:

  • Putin calls Ukrainian soldiers to defect: in his address from 24/2: "I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces... I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families."
  • Ukraine calls Russian pilots to defect: taken from this answer: "RUSSIAN PILOT, SURRENDER TO THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY! the only way to save your life and honor! According to the decision of the General Director Yuri Gusev, the State Concern "Ukroboronprom" is ready to pay bonuses for stolen combat aircraft of the occupiers! $ 1,000,000 for a stolen or trophy combat-ready aircraft. 500,000 US dollars - for a captured military helicopter in working order."
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  • March 3, 2022