Ukraine lowers mobilization age by 2 years to make up for troop shortfalls

People kneel as Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin of a fallen soldier, in front of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on Tuesday lowering his country’s mobilization age from 27 to 25 years, approving legislation that was initially passed by parliament in May of last year but had not been signed into law until now.

It is unclear why Zelensky took so long to sign the law, but conscription has been a sensitive topic in Ukraine since nearly the beginning of the war, with videos of Ukrainian men being scooped off the streets, presumably to be sent to the front. The country has suffered from a lack of suitable troops after two years of war and ammunition shortages.

The government did not make any public comment about the law, and it is unclear how many troops Ukraine can raise due to the lower age of conscription.

The average age of Ukraine’s forces is actually 40, which is nearly the same as Russia, with many older troops occupying the ranks of both forces. Critics say the new law will be taking young workers from the Ukrainian economy, which is already suffering. However, Ukraine is expected a summer offensive from Russia, and analysts fear if Ukraine is not prepared, Russia could take significant amounts of territory.

Russia has a noted advantage in terms of population, and was already nearly three times as large as Ukraine before the war began. Additionally, Ukraine has seen its population numbers crash as women, children, and also men left the country in large numbers over the last two years.

Ukrainian men looking to avoid being drafted have either fled the country, tried to keep a low profile, faked illnesses, or offered bribes.

Video released by Russia’s RT and promoted on social media by pro-Russian accounts shows the children of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko partying and enjoying what appears to be a luxury lifestyle.

It is unclear how the videos were obtained, but they are showing the divide between elites and oligarchs and citizens who are being forced to fight a war that has cost hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded.

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