Russia to bolster military forces with new draft age bill
Russia is set to raise the age of men eligible for military service, a sign that Moscow likely expects the war in Ukraine to drag on.
State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrei Kartapolov introduced a bill this week that would change the age range eligible for the draft, increasing the range from 21 to 30, up from the current range of 18 to 27 years old.
The bill, however, provides for two transition years where the minimum age will gradually increase, meaning the new age bracket will not be in place until 2025.
This means that for the next two years, more men could be called into service.
Critics of the new legislation slammed the bill as a ploy to increase the number of men eligible to join the military and compensate for Russia’s losses in Ukraine, the Moscow Times reported.
The UK Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update that the bill will likely pass and come into force in January.
The ministry noted that Russia had barred conscripts from serving in its military operations in Ukraine, but said at least hundreds were likely deployed due to administrative errors or by being coerced into signing contracts.
An increase in conscripts could also help free up a number of professional soldiers stationed elsewhere who could then fight in the war, the Defense Ministry said.
The bill comes just months after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed expanding Russia’s military from 1.15 million to 1.5 million, a move backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin ordered a partial mobilization in September of at least 300,000 reservists to bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, though the decree sparked massive protests in Russia and caused hundreds of thousands of military-age men to flee the country.
Ukrainian battlefields were brutal for Russian soldiers.
Ukraine’s armed forces claimed on Saturday that since Russia began its invasion on February 24, 2022, it has “liquidated” at least 164,200 troops.
Western intelligence sources estimate that each side has suffered around 150,000 casualties, including dead and wounded, since the start of the war.
Last Sunday alone, kyiv said 1,090 Russian fighters had been killed.
With post wires