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Zelensky signs law lowering draft age to 25 in bid to boost military ranks

KYIV - Ukrainian men as young as 25 can now be conscripted into military service after President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a new law Tuesday lowering the draft age - a bid to replenish Kyiv's badly depleted troop ranks more than two years into Russia's invasion.

Lowering the conscription age, which had been 27, was the most significant measure in a mobilization draft bill that has already seen thousands of amendments in parliament since the start of this year. Although citizens can voluntarily join the military starting at age 18, and men between 18 and 60 are banned from leaving the country under martial law, the draft has until now protected younger men - many of whom are students - from being forcibly mobilized.

Discussion over who and how many people to mobilize has been divisive in a society that has otherwise been united by a common Russian foe. Although support for the military is extremely high among Ukrainians, few people who haven't already volunteered to fight want to. Meanwhile, Ukrainian commanders have said they are in desperate need of reinforcements, especially in the forwardmost positions. Some soldiers have been fighting for more than two years with few breaks.


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