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Russian troops who have been part of a mobilisation drive for military operations in Ukraine will have the right to get their sperm frozen for free in cryobanks, the state TASS agency reported on Wednesday.

Citing Igor Trunov, president of the Russian Union of Lawyers, TASS reported that the Health Ministry responded to his appeal for budgetary assistance with the plan.

The ministry “determined the possibility of financial support from the federal budget for free conservation and storage of germ cells (spermatozoa) for citizens mobilized to participate in the special military operation for 2022-2024”, Trunov was quoted as saying.

Families can also use the stored biomaterial free of charge if their compulsory medical insurance indicates they can do so.

Russia called up more than 300,000 reservists to support what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine in a mobilisation drive launched in September.

Naval drills with China response to ‘aggressive’ US: Russian army chief

The drive prompted hundreds of thousands of Russian men to flee from the country to avoid being conscripted, and sparked the largest anti-Kremlin protests since Russia sent in its troops into Ukraine in February.

The war, which Ukraine and its Western allies call an unprovoked aggression to grab land is in its 11th month, having entered a slow, grinding phase as bitter winter weather has set in.

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