Update: Putin signed this legislation into law on July 14.
President Vladimir Putin signed into law Thursday legislation giving civilians who have contributed to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine the same status as war veterans.
The legislation includes doctors, technical specialists, construction workers and journalists who have worked with Russian troops in occupied areas of Ukraine, according to lawmakers.
Veteran status gives the holder tax and transport privileges and state assistance with accommodation and health care. War veterans also receive monthly payments from the government.
The legislation was signed amid Moscow’s latest campaign to recruit essential workers for the “reconstruction” of occupied areas of eastern Ukraine. In return for traveling to the region, workers are reportedly promised a benefits package including meals and housing, paid vacation time and “career growth” opportunities.
President Vladimir Putin signed a law conferring veteran status to all Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine in March.