Russia Mobilizing 70-Year-Olds to Fight in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new law extending the maximum age at which its men can be mobilized to serve in the military.

From 65, civilians that held higher positions in the reserve force can be called back into service up to the age of 70.

The policy also allows Russian men who have completed their compulsory service to re-enter the army up to the age of 55, rather than 45.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the country wants to increase the number of its combat personnel from 1.15 million to 1.5 million.

The sudden increase in the age eligibility comes amid reports that at least 47,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Putin is also reportedly preparing another 100,000 men to fight in the war-torn nation.

‘Low Morale’

The last time Russia mobilized a massive number of troops to fight in Ukraine happened in September last year when Putin called up more than 300,000 reservists.

Some of them were reportedly trained for as little as 10 days, raising speculation that they did not have enough combat knowledge to fight Ukrainian forces.

A Business Insider report noted that the troops were “poorly trained” and had “low morale” going into battle on the frontline.

In the span of just a month, many in the Russian reserve force were reportedly killed.

“I feel bad for the troops who’ve already hit the front line, as they likely do not have sufficient training or preparation to function effectively on the battlefield,” International Institute for Strategic Studies director William Alberque told the outlet.

Russian soldiers
Russian soldiers ride atop an armored vehicle in Crimea. Photo: AFP

‘Depleted Force’

Putin’s decision to raise the age eligibility of soldiers is his latest attempt to increase the country’s “already-depleted” force in Ukraine.

In May this year, non-profit organization Ukrainian Victims of War revealed that the Russian military is offering salaries up to 10 times higher to entice civilians to join its ground forces.

Potential recruits are promised 700,000 rubles ($8,961) monthly, significantly higher than the country’s average of 63,060 rubles ($807).

The military is also ramping up its female recruitment to fill the roles of doctors, nurses, and cooks on the frontline.

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