Russian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to raise the upper age for military conscription, aiming to expand the pool of trained recruits who can join the war in Ukraine.
The Size, if approved by the full parliament, would apply to the year of military service required of all Russian males. Starting next year, 18- to 30-year-olds must serve; Currently, it ranges from 18 to 27. The bill also prohibits conscripted men from leaving the country, an attempt to reduce draft evasion.
The move reflects the Kremlin’s desire to strengthen the military without resorting to a general mobilization, in which Russian men who have served in the military – up to the age of 70 in the highest ranks – could be called up. President Vladimir V. Putin has carefully tried to avoid a major mobilization to maintain support for the war, but one is still possible if other measures fail to provide enough force.
Along with several measures approved by Russian lawmakers this year, the law makes clear the Kremlin’s intention to strengthen the military in what it has portrayed as an existential conflict with the West.
Although Russian men are required to serve a year in the military, many find ways to avoid it, including through medicine, education, or going abroad. Last September, protesters took to the streets across Russia after the announcement of a “partial mobilization” aimed at enlisting 300,000 men as the country was at war. Many more men fled the country.
For the most part, Russia has thwarted attempts to pierce Ukraine’s lines, but fighting on Ukrainian soil has been slow and bloody. A vote by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday to expand the recruiting board has left Mr.
While the Russian president has promised no conscripts will be sent to Ukraine to serve a year, they are stationed in areas on its border and represent trained men who will sign contracts and be sent to war.
It is uncertain how long it will take to see the effects of new measures aimed at strengthening the military.
“It’s clear that the fall conscription campaign is no earlier than the previous one — that is, not earlier than the winter,” said Dmitry Kuznets, who analyzes the battle for Medusa, an independent Russian news website. “This is preparation for the military’s planned expansion in the future.”
The draft law still needs approval from the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, whose speaker has already pledged support. After that Mr. Putin will sign.
When there was a mandatory age scheme First announced At the end of last year, Defense Minister Sergey K. Shoigu called for raising the mandatory age limit from 21 to 30, along with efforts to expand the Russian military from about 1.15 million to 1.5 million soldiers. But last week, lawmakers made it 18 to 30.
Andrei Kartapolov, a Russian lawmaker and key supporter of the draft law, told Russian news agency Interfax that the change was made because Russia’s “demographic situation is serious,” affecting “the level of resource mobilization” in the country.
Last week, Parliament extended by five years the maximum age at which men can be part of general conscription for the army, raising the age to 70 for high-ranking officers in the reserves. Previous changes in Russian law made it more difficult for potential recruits to avoid general mobilization or conscription.
The Russian Defense Ministry is also moving aggressively to recruit new volunteers to fight in Ukraine. On July 4, former Russian president and now high-ranking security official Dmitry A. said More than 185,000 people have joined the Russian army since the beginning of this year.
The war researcher Mr. Kuznets said it all appeared to be part of a larger strategy.
“I think the increase in the draft board, the effort to recruit tens of thousands of contract players and the preparation for a new wave of mobilization complement each other,” he said. “This is an attempt to implement a plan for a protracted war, for which you must replenish your resources faster than the enemy.”