The Russian intelligence leader said that the West is urging Ukraine to expand the age of recruiting soldiers from the current 18-60 years to 17-70 years old.
“Director of the Russian Federal Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin said that the West is asking the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky to demonstrate to the international community that Moscow cannot win the conflict, even though Kiev is in trouble. no matter how heavy the loss,” SVR’s press agency said on November 20.
Russian intelligence claims to have data showing that the US and UK advised Ukraine’s leaders to reduce the minimum mobilization age for men to 17 and raise the maximum age to 70, while also mobilizing more women for the army.
SVR added that Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov also proposed that parliament study the possibility of reducing the minimum age for military service. “The pain of the Ukrainian armed forces will only prolong if this really happens,” said director Naryshkin.
Officials in Ukraine, the US and the UK have not commented on the information.
President Zelensky declared martial law from February 24, 2022, when Russia launched the campaign in Ukraine. A day later, he signed a decree on general mobilization, banning Ukrainian men aged 18-60 from leaving the country.
Ukraine does not announce its casualties in the conflict. According to US and European estimates, Kiev and Moscow’s casualties were more than 100,000 people on each side. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced at the end of October that more than 90,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and wounded after less than 5 months of counterattack.
This seriously reduced the manpower of the Ukrainian army, forcing military recruitment offices to call in older recruits. The average age of Ukrainian soldiers is currently 43. A close assistant to Mr. Zelensky commented that “they are old and not healthy anymore.”
This situation is completely different from when the Russia-Ukraine conflict first broke out. The Territorial Defense Force of the Ukrainian army then announced that it would receive 100,000 recruits in the first 10 days of hostilities. The mobilization of Ukrainian recruits was then fueled by optimistic predictions by the country’s officials that they would “win within a few weeks to a few months”.
However, Ukraine’s military recruitment pace is gradually decreasing after nearly two years of fighting, even though the country applies a strict conscription policy. Many people shared stories about officers pulling men out of buses or trains and taking them to the front, or some people with economic means bribing the army recruitment office to avoid the soldiers.
Vu Anh (According to RIA Novosti, Times)