Russia has legally increased the age for military conscription to 30 years old in a bid to bolster its ranks amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
With little talk of peace negotiations between the West and Moscow for the proxy war being waged in Ukraine, Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, passed a bill on Tuesday allowing for the government to conscript men up to the age of 30, state media news agency TASS reported.
The new legislation, which will come into effect on January 1st of 2024, will mean that males between the age of 18 and 30, compared to the present 18 to 27, will be required to participate in at least one year of military service, or an equivalent form of training while in higher education.
The increase in conscription age comes after Russia announced last year plans to increase its total military force to 1.5 million from 1.1 million.
Those participating in conscripted service are not legally allowed to be sent to fight in conflicts outside of Russia, however, the government has acknowledged that some men have been sent to fight in Ukraine supposedly by mistake, particularly during the outset of the invasion.
The issue of what consists of Russian territory may become a key issue for conscripted service going forward given that Russia has claimed territory in the Donetsk region and in Crimea previously belonging to Ukraine, so theoretically conscripts could be used to defend such territorial gains.
The new law also stipulates that Russian men are prohibited from leaving the country after receiving their conscription notice. Previously, notices were delivered physically, but digital conscription has been implemented to avoid claims from men of not receiving the letter after having moved address or other impediments.
Following the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of young men fled the country in order to avoid being caught up in military mobilization.
Since the invasion 17 months ago, it has been estimated that between 40,000 and 55,000 Russian troops have lost their lives, according to a study published last month conducted by two independent Russian media outlets and the UK’s BBC which tracked inheritance claims made by family members of dead men, which soared following the invasion.
It has further been estimated — based upon compensation payments made to military families — that an additional 78,000 Russian soldiers suffered such egregious wounds that they have since been discharged from the armed forces. The authors of the study noted that this would take the total losses of the military to around 125,000, or nearly equivalent to the initial force sent into Ukraine last year.