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Ukraine reduces military conscription age to 25


KYIV, Ukraine, April 3 (AP): Ukraine has reduced the military conscription age from 27 to 25 in an effort to bolster its ranks after over two years of war following Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The new mobilization law, which came into effect a day after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed it, was passed by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, last year.

The reasons for Zelenskyy’s delay in signing the measure into law were not immediately clear, as he made no public comment about it, and officials did not specify the expected number of new soldiers or the units they would join.

Conscription has been a contentious issue in Ukraine due to a growing shortage of infantry and a severe ammunition shortfall, giving Russia the battlefield initiative. However, Russia’s own issues with manpower and planning have hindered it from fully exploiting its advantage.

Military analysts suggest that the average age of Ukrainian soldiers, like those on the Russian side, is around 40. Some Ukrainians fear that drafting young adults could worsen the war-ravaged economy, but the situation has reportedly become urgent as Kyiv prepares for an expected summer offensive by Kremlin forces.

Zelenskyy has seldom discussed mobilization, and parliament has had lengthy and inconclusive debates on the matter in recent months.

In December, Zelenskyy mentioned that Ukraine’s military aimed to mobilize up to 500,000 more troops but sought detailed plans from military leaders before making a decision.

The potential mobilization would cost Ukraine around $13.4 billion, according to Zelenskyy. Other considerations include whether frontline troops would be rotated or granted home leave.

Reports suggest that the need for a broad mobilization was a point of contention between Zelenskyy and Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the former popular commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces whom the president replaced in February.

According to Ukrainian Defense Ministry data from October, nearly 800,000 troops were in the Ukrainian military, excluding the National Guard and other units. In total, approximately 1 million Ukrainians serve in uniform.

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