Sat 18 March 2023:
Russian authorities are preparing to raise the age for military conscription in a bid to beef up troop reserves for the war in Ukraine, according to British intelligence reports.
A bill was introduced in Russia’s lower house of parliament on March 13 to allow men aged 21-30 to be drafted in place of the current 18-27-year bracket, the Ministry of Defence in London said on Saturday.
“The law is likely to be passed, and would come into force in January 2024,” the ministry wrote on Twitter in its latest update on the situation in Ukraine.
Distinct from the mobilization of thousands of veterans since September 2022 to fight in Ukraine, Russia has called up conscripts twice a year since the Soviet era. Fifteen years ago it cut the length of the draft from two to one years as it moved towards a professional, contract-based army.
“Russia continues to officially bar conscripts from operations in Ukraine, though at least hundreds have probably served through administrative mix ups or after being coerced to sign contracts,” the ministry added.
Many in the 18-21 age range currently apply for exemption from compulsory military service on the grounds of being in higher education. However, the authorities are now likely to change the age range to increase troop numbers, the tweet said.
“Even if Russia continues to refrain from deploying conscripts in the war, extra conscripts will free up a greater proportion of professional soldiers to fight,” according to the ministry.
In an effort to counter the Russian narrative and keep allies in line, the British authorities have published daily updates on the progress of the war since Russian forces launched their full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In turn, Moscow accuses London of a disinformation campaign.
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