On Monday, a senior Russian lawmaker introduced a bill to raise the age of conscription for compulsory military service from 21 to 30, from 18 to 27 currently.
The bill was introduced by Andrei Kartapolov, a former general who heads the State Duma defense committee and represents the ruling United Russia bloc, just over a year after Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Since there will be two transitional years – 2024 and 2025 – in which the draft age will be raised to 10 or 11 instead of nine, the law will increase the number of men subject to compulsory service for one year.
President Vladimir Putin in December endorsed Defense Ministry proposals to delay the age group.
The minister, Sergei Shoigu, plans to increase the total number of active military personnel – contract soldiers and professional conscripts – from 1.15 million to 1.5 million.
Recruits cannot be legally deployed outside of Russia. However, in September Moscow unilaterally annexed four Ukrainian regions where fighting continues, and now considers them to be Russian territory.
The sudden mobilization of at least 300,000 men last fall for the war in Ukraine expelled draft-age men from Russia and sparked public criticism over the seemingly chaotic way the men were called up.
Although Russia’s campaign in Ukraine appears to be stalling, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied planning any further mobilization.
Postponement of military service is available for medical reasons to students and parents of large families.