Ukraine Reduces Military Draft Age to Increase Troop Numbers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has approved a bill, officially reducing the military mobilization age from 27 to 25 years.

Kyiv has suffered significant casualties on the battlefield during two years of conflict, while Russia has enjoyed a considerable manpower advantage. This decision will enable Ukraine to summon additional individuals to bolster its reserves, following a decline in volunteer numbers.

Mr. Zelensky emphasized in December that an additional 500,000 soldiers were necessary. Although Ukraine’s parliament approved the bill in May 2023, it remained dormant as Mr. Zelensky had not given it his signature.

While the specific motivation for the president’s decision to sign the bill on Tuesday remained unclear, he had previously cautioned about potential Russian plans for a spring or summer offensive this year.

Mr. Zelensky’s decision to sign the bill could signal Ukraine’s proactive stance in enhancing its defensive fortifications in preparation for a potential Russian offensive.

Ukrainian forces had sought to regain control over extensive territories taken by Russia, while also aiming to disrupt Russian supply routes to Crimea.

Despite efforts, Kyiv’s counter-offensive stalled as winter approached, with Ukrainian forces facing formidable Russian defenses and lacking air superiority, leading to concerns about potential Russian superiority.

Read also: War: 31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed By Russia — Zelenskyy

Ukrainian Gen Oleksandr Tarnavskyi alerted last year that troops had been compelled to curtail certain military operations due to a decrease in foreign assistance.

Ukraine has heavily depended on Western provisions, especially deliveries of long-range missiles and air defense systems. However, billions of dollars in aid from the US and EU have been delayed due to political disputes.

More than 600,000 Russian troops are reported to be involved in the conflict in Ukraine, according to President Vladimir Putin, who has not provided details on the number of casualties.

According to a confidential US intelligence report unveiled in December, approximately 315,000 Russian soldiers have been either killed or wounded since the initiation of the war. This figure constitutes almost 90% of Russia’s military personnel at the beginning of the invasion.

Mr. Zelensky revealed in February that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the commencement of the war. However, US officials have suggested that the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed is at least 70,000, with as many as 120,000 injured.

Africa Today News, New York

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