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Putin orders 150,000 conscripts into military service

March 31, 2024

The conscripts had previously been assured they would not be ordered to the frontlines in Ukraine. This despite mounting losses in the war.

Conscripts gather at an assembly station in the city of Bataysk
Conscription is used to replenish Russia's armed forces and build up its military reservesImage: Erik Romanenko/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to enroll 150,000 conscripts into the military, a document posted on the Kremlin's website showed on Sunday.

All men in Russia are required to serve one year of compulsory military service.

According to Statista, Russia has approximately 1.32 million active military personnel and two million reserve military personnel.

Conscripts not destined for Ukraine

Compulsory military service has long been a sensitive issue in Russia. Many men try to avoid conscription during the twice-yearly call-up periods.

The Defense Ministry had previously assured conscripts they would not be sent to the front in Ukraine as they cannot legally be deployed to fight outside Russia.

However, on Sunday, the ministry also published a document releasing soldiers who had completed their basic training from service.

These trained soldiers have the option to volunteer for service in Ukraine, but many feel pressured to sign up.

Russia makes it harder to avoid conscription

Last year, Russia raised the maximum conscription age by three years, widening the pool of men who can be called up to serve. Now, all men up to 30 can be called up.

Casualties mount in Russia's war in Ukraine

Earlier this month, the UK Ministry of Defense said it estimated 355,000 Russian personnel have been killed and wounded since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in action since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

Draft dodgers: Ukrainian men fleeing conscription

The number of Ukrainians willing to serve in the military has dwindled and Kyiv has stepped up its own recruitment policy.

DW could not verify the figures independently.

lo/sms (dpa, Reuters)