Zelensky lowers conscription age by two years to strengthen Ukrainian army

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law formally lowering the embattled country’s military conscription age from 27 to 25 as it seeks to shore up its growing war with Russia more than two years ago. Reduced armed forces.

The law on changing the age for conscription, known as “9281,” was one of three measures signed by Zelensky on Tuesday, exactly a year after Ukraine’s parliament passed it.

Zelensky spoke briefly to the media, admitting he was not prepared to reveal how many new recruits the country needed.

Volodymyr Zelensky signed three new measures into law on Tuesday. Reuters

Zelensky explained that an audit requested by Ukraine’s new commander, Olaksandr Syrsku, determined that previous estimates of the need for an additional 500,000 troops were inaccurate.

As of last fall, an estimated 1 million Ukrainians were wearing military uniforms, including 800,000 service members as well as the National Guard and other related forces.

Law 9281 is separate from the wider draft Bill 10449 currently before Parliament.

In addition to lowering the draft age, 10499 will also clarify issues such as who is entitled to exemptions.

Photo taken last month by Ukrainian soldiers near the front line outside Bakhmut. Reuters

The bill is expected to be deeply unpopular, and lawmakers have already submitted more than 1,000 amendments.

Two other laws signed by Zelensky on Tuesday include the creation of an online registration system for new recruits.

“These laws only change certain aspects of the mobilization process. But there are still many other issues that need to be resolved,” said Oksana Zabolotna, an analyst at the Joint Operations Center in Kyiv.

Zabolotna added that lowering the draft age by two years would likely only achieve 10% of the original target of 500,000 recruits.

“There are about 500,000 men between the ages of 25 and 27. Some of them are not fit to serve, some have left, some are in the reserves or are entitled to an extension,” she explained.

A former Ukrainian military commander estimates that the army needs at least 500,000 new recruits. Associated Press

According to military analysts, the current average age of Ukrainian soldiers is about 40 years old, the same as the average age of Russian soldiers.

However, Russia claimed on Wednesday that a recent surge in enlistments was partly in response to last month’s deadly terror attack in Moscow.

The Kremlin insists that Ukraine and Western countries were somehow involved in the March 22-23 incident that killed 140 people at the Crocus City Hall concert venue, even though an Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility.

The Russian Defense Ministry said some 16,000 new recruits had signed up in the past 10 days, although the figures could not be independently verified.

Ukraine’s war with Russia has been going on for more than two years. Reuters

As the war enters its third year, Ukrainians’ initial enthusiasm for fighting the Russian invasion has naturally waned.

Public support for the war remained high, although some citizens worried that recruiting more young people from the workforce would further weaken the economy.

Ukraine currently bans men under 60 from leaving the country, although some men have evaded conscription by hiding at home or paying bribes.

Commanders now say they don’t have enough personnel and can barely hold their ground as the Russian offensive drags on.

Zelensky is said to have had disagreements with the former military chief over the issue of new recruits. Associated Press

Disagreements over mobilizing more personnel are believed to be one of the reasons Zelensky fired popular commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny in February.

In the same month, Zaluzhny slammed “the inability of Ukrainian state institutions to improve the manpower level of our armed forces”. Controversial CNN op-ed.

On Wednesday, the president shared a dire update on the current state of the fighting.

“In March alone, Russian terrorists used more than 400 missiles of various types, 600 Shahd drones and more than 3,000 guided air bombs against Ukraine<", he said amid explosions and desperate residents he wrote next to the footage of him escaping to safety.

He added: “This terrorist activity is wreaking havoc on cities and villages across Ukraine, and Russia’s bombing of frontline and border areas is particularly ruthless.”

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