Day 770: Zelenskyi signs law lowering draft age to 25

Zelenskyi signs a law lowering the draft age to 25. Russia is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops by June, Zelenskyi says. NATO proposes a USD 100 billion, five-year fund to aid Ukraine.

Zelenskyi signs law lowering draft age to 25

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on Tuesday signed into law a bill to lower the minimum conscription age from 27 to 25. The law is set to generate more fighting power. Zelenskyi also separately signed a second bill requiring men who were given military waivers on disability grounds to undergo another medical assessment. A third bill he also signed aimed to create an electronic database (“Oberih” digital register) of those eligible for military service and reservists.

The bills are separate from a larger, highly debated mobilization bill that is still being shaped for the second reading in the Parliament. 

A statement published by the Parliament upon passing the law that expands the draft age said it was “inappropriate” that “a significant number of citizens” who were fit for military service could not be called up, despite the present need, under martial law.

At the same time, mandatory military enlistment of men younger than 25 was abolished under martial law. They will not be called to serve unless they volunteer.

Russia preparing to mobilize additional 300,000 troops by June, Zelenskyi says

Russia is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops in the next two months, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has warned.

“I can say that Russia is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 military personnel by June 1,” Zelenskyi told reporters in Kyiv during a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart, Alexander Stubb. 

Asked how many troops Ukraine plans to mobilize this year, Zelenskyi said that “we don’t need half a million”, but refused to provide a specific figure.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the spring conscription campaign, calling up 150,000 citizens for military service, a document posted on the Kremlin’s website showed on March 31. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have enlisted for military service under contract in the Russian armed forces this year.

NATO proposes USD 100 billion, five-year fund to aid Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is proposing to establish a fund of allied contributions worth USD 100 billion over five years for Ukraine as part of a package for alliance leaders to sign off when they gather in Washington in July, according to Bloomberg.

Allies are still discussing Stoltenberg’s proposal and any mechanics of the accounting, including whether to factor in bilateral aid to Ukraine into the overall sum, according to people familiar with the discussions.

President Biden’s Administration will continue to search ways to provide emergency assistance to Ukraine while the aid bill is stuck in Congress, White House national security communications advisor John Kirby said at a Tuesday briefing.