Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 14:27 IST

Ukraine Lowers Military Draft Age to Bolster Fighting Force Against Russia

Zelenskiy had previously stated that he would only sign the bill if presented with a compelling argument for its necessity.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy | Image:X/ZelenskyyUa

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine has signed a significant bill to reduce the mobilization age for combat duty from 27 to 25, aiming to enhance Ukraine's military capabilities in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

The decision to lower the mobilization age expands the pool of potential soldiers available for combat duty under martial law, which has been enforced since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.


Here is what you need to know

This bill, which had been awaiting Zelenskiy's signature since its approval by lawmakers in May 2023, is anticipated to bolster Ukraine's fighting force. While the reason for the delay in signing remains unclear, the move comes amid ongoing discussions in Parliament to tighten draft regulations through a separate bill.


Additionally, Zelenskiy signed two other bills aimed at strengthening the military. One requires men previously exempted from military service due to disability to undergo a new medical assessment, while the other seeks to establish an online database of individuals eligible for military duty, potentially facilitating the drafting process.

However, an earlier draft of the bill aimed at creating the online database faced significant public backlash, leading to the removal of several stringent measures.


Ukraine continues to face challenges on battlefield 

Despite efforts to strengthen its military, Ukraine continues to face challenges on the battlefield, including shortages of ammunition and delays in vital funding from the United States and promised ammunition from the European Union.


The signing of the legislation was not immediately announced by the president's office but was instead indicated on Parliament's website.

Zelenskiy had previously stated that he would only sign the bill if presented with a compelling argument for its necessity. In December, he revealed that the military had proposed mobilizing up to 500,000 additional Ukrainians into the armed forces, although this figure has since been revised downwards by the new head of the armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, following a resource review.


Amid concerns of a potential new Russian offensive in the coming months, Ukraine has intensified efforts to fortify defensive positions along its extensive front line. However, the country has experienced a decline in volunteer fighters and cases of draft evasion have been going up, prompting measures to bolster its military readiness.


Published April 3rd, 2024 at 14:27 IST