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UK Defense Ministry: Russia likely to raise conscription age to bolster troop numbers
The Russian State Duma deputies introduced a bill on March 13, aimed at changing the age bracket for military conscription to men from the current 18-27 to 21-30 years, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its daily update on March 18. The ministry said the law would likely be passed, adding that it would enter into force in January 2024.
According to the update, many Russian men aged 18-21 “currently claim exemption from the draft due to being in higher education.”
“The authorities are highly likely changing the age bracket to bolster troop numbers by ensuring that students are eventually forced to serve,” the ministry said.
Even though Russia continues to “officially bar” conscripts from the war in Ukraine, at least hundreds have likely served through “administrative mix-ups” or after being coerced to sign contracts, the U.K. Defense Ministry 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.”
Earlier in January, Russian State Duma Defense Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov suggested that Russia extends the upper age of military conscription from 27 to 30 for the spring 2023 draft, saying that the move would be intended to enable the previously announced 30% increase in the size of Russia’s forces.
Last year, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said he supported such a move. Russian officials often make such calls to sound out public reactions, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry’s earlier report.
While Russia is reportedly conducting secret mobilization for the war against Ukraine, the routine spring draft will commence on April 1.