Politics

Russia scraps military age limit, allowing those over 40 to serve

Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed a law removing an upper age limit on the Russian military, meaning those over 40 can now serve.

Under current Russian law, only citizens aged 18 to 40 can join Russia’s Armed Forces by signing a contract, but the recently passed bill would remove the upper age limit for first-time recruits, according to the outlet. However, the change would not apply to active soldiers, who must still be under 50 years old to renew their contracts.

The new law carries no specific upper age limit, allowing anybody of “normal working age” to fight, according to Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

The proposal was passed by Russian lawmakers earlier in the week and Putin’s signature means the measure is now a law. Lawmakers who argued in favor of removing the age limit said it would help recruit specialist troops such as doctors and engineers.

Around 400,000 contracted soldiers are currently serving in Russia’s Armed Forces. The number is padded each year with 130,000 conscripts who are drafted into the Russian army.

Russia has suffered around 29,600 combat losses among its personnel between the start of its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said in its most recent casualty report.

In one update, they said personnel problems had forced Russia to rely on mercenaries and irregular forces like militants from Chechnya rather than its main army. In another, they predicted that commanders would rush exhausted troops back into fighting after capturing Mariupol without properly resting or re-equipping them, which is likely to lead to more deaths.

Ukraine has long accepted older fighters into its military. As part of its general mobilization as the invasion began, the country banned all men aged 18 to 60 from leaving in case they were needed to fight.

After weeks of apparent stasis in the attacks on the Donbas, Ukrainian officials have in recent days conceded that Russia is gaining ground.

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE MOSCOW TIMES

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