Vlad’s Army: Russia SCRAPS upper age limit for military recruits in desperate bid to bolster its faltering Ukraine invasion

  • Currently only Russians aged 18 to 40 have the right to sign their first contract
  • Lower and upper houses of parliament backed the bill in all necessary readings
  • Comes as Russia announced over 1,000 troop deaths in its military operation

Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law scrapping an upper age limit for people signing up to join the army. 

It is a sign Moscow may be looking to recruit more troops to bolster its military campaign in Ukraine.

Under current legislation, only Russians aged 18 to 40 and foreign nationals aged 18 to 30 have the right to sign their first military service contract.

The lower and upper houses of parliament backed the bill in all the necessary readings, after which Russian President Vladimir Putin must sign it into law.

This comes as Russia has announced over 1,000 troop deaths in its military operation in Ukraine, launched on February 24, and has vowed to continue fighting for as long as it takes.

Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law scrapping an upper age limit for people signing up to join the army. Pictured: President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the State Council in the Kremlin in Moscow

‘We need to strengthen our armed forces, to help the defence ministry. Our supreme commander-in-chief (Putin) is doing everything to make the army win and increase its effectiveness,’ speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said, as quoted on the State Duma lower house website.

The law refers to people voluntarily joining the armed forces, not young men doing compulsory national service.

‘Highly professional specialists are needed to use high-precision weapons and operate weapons and military equipment’ and such specialists may be aged 40 to 45, said a note accompanying the draft bill.

The note said the amendment would also help attract those in civilian professions to join the army, including medics, engineers and communications experts.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Moscow ‘will continue the special military operation until all the objectives have been achieved,’ referring to military action in Ukraine.

It comes as hundreds of thousands of new Russian conscripts are being drafted into the army with many facing the prospect of fighting in Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of new Russian conscripts are being drafted into the army with many facing the prospect of fighting in Ukraine

New pictures show nervous draftees – many aged just 18 – reporting for duty in four regions of the country. Some are seen in farewell hugs to their mothers or girlfriends

New pictures show nervous draftees – many aged just 18 – reporting for duty in four regions of the country. Some are seen in farewell hugs to their mothers or girlfriends.

A total of 134,500 conscripts are being called up nationwide in the spring draft, all aged 18 to 27.

The latest conscription campaign follows a decree from Putin, who yesterday for the first time visited wounded soldiers from the Ukraine war in a Moscow military hospital.

Critics noted that the war injuries of the servicemen were not visible – and they stood to attention to greet the president.

The latest conscription campaign follows a decree from Putin, who yesterday for the first time visited wounded soldiers from the Ukraine war in a Moscow military hospital

There have been a total of 16 reported Molotov cocktail attacks on enlistment offices where Russian recruits are registered, seen as a sign of protest about the war.

Pictures show conscripts reporting for duty in regions including Leningrad, Rostov, and Irkutsk, as well as the Republic of Buryatia.

Some 1,300 new conscripts will be sent from Buryatia, seen as the worst hit in Russia with 130 known deaths.

Controversy surrounds the way conscripts are allegedly being forced to sign contracts as full-time soldiers only weeks or months after being drafted and following only cursory military training.

Once they have signed, their pay improves, but they are also liable to be sent to the bloody conflict.

Other conscripts – for example on the sunk cruiser Moskva – had not even signed contracts but were still sent into the firing line, against Russian rules.

Some raw recruits were seen being blessed by an Orthodox priest

In Buryatia, deputy prime minister Pyotr Mordovskoy told anxious parents: ‘They will be all right.

‘If they sign a contract, they will be sent to perform in the special [military] operation.

‘If they don’t sign it, I think they will be limited to the period of military service and return home.’

Some raw recruits were seen being blessed by an Orthodox priest.

A former Western diplomat in Moscow said: ‘It is nonsense to assume that these new army conscripts will avoid the war.

‘Many draftees from last year’s enlistments have already gone home in body bags, and sadly some of these will not avoid the same fate.’

One of the wounded soldiers Putin met alongside Shoigu was identified as Airat Rakhmatullin, 27, who said he had been wounded more than one month ago.

One of the wounded soldiers Putin met alongside Shoigu was identified as Airat Rakhmatullin (above), 27, who said he had been wounded more than one month ago

Originally from Amur region in the extreme east of Russia, he had been sent to self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Ukraine from Russia’s base in Tajikistan.

White-coated Putin told one wounded soldier from Kabardino-Balkariya that he would be sent back to the war.

Asked by the president if he really wanted to return, he said: ‘Of course I do.’

Putin told him: ‘You definitely will.’

The Russian president said: ‘These are people who are risking their health and lives for the sake of the people and children of Donbas, for the sake of Russia.

‘They are all heroes.’

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