Ukraine war: MPs block plans to lower conscription age

No Content

  • Published
    7 minutes ago
Two Ukrainian servicemen check an anti-aircraft machine gunImage source, EPA

Ukraine’s parliament has blocked plans to lower the age at which men can be conscripted into the armed forces from 27 to 25.

As part of President Zelensky’s thwarted bill, he also wanted to impose tougher penalties on those who try to evade being called up.

Last month, he said 450,000-500,000 extra soldiers were needed to fight Russia’s invasion.

MPs say the legislation could violate human rights and asked for amendments.

The bill would also allow Ukrainians to be summoned electronically to join the armed forces. At the start of the war, tens of thousands of men volunteered to fight but almost two years on it is getting harder to convince anyone to join up.

In December, Ukrainians living abroad were told they would be asked to report for military service. It was described as an “invitation” by Mr Zelensky – but there were suggestions anyone who did not comply would be sanctioned.

He said achieving the increased number of troops was a “sensitive” and costly issue.

This all comes as Kyiv’s recent counter-offensive seems to have stalled and provisions of military aid have also taken a knock in recent months. US Republicans blocked a $61bn (€55bn; £48bn) military package and Hungary stopped an EU financial deal worth €50bn ($55bn; £43bn).

Mr Zelensky is currently on a tour of the Baltic states – now in Latvia – to bolster further support including urging Western allies to provide more air defence weapons.

Speaking earlier in Tallinn, Estonia he warned about the dangers of Western hesitation. He said: “Sometimes the insecurity of partners regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine only increases Russia’s courage and strength.”

His remarks came as a new US report warned that more than $1bn (£785m) worth of US military aid given to Ukraine since February 2022 was not properly tracked.

The findings by the Pentagon’s inspector general said US officials in Washington DC and Europe had failed to properly account for thousands of weapons, including stringer launchers and air defence missiles. It raises concerns that some of the $1.69bn in military aid supplied to Ukraine could have been misappropriated.

But in a letter responding to the report, Col Garrett W Trott of the US military’s European Command, emphasised that the report found “no evidence of unauthorised or illicit transfer of EEUM [Enhanced End Use Monitoring] defence articles provided to Ukraine”.

And the report itself conceded that it was “beyond the scope” of its inquiry to determine whether any arms had been misappropriated.

This post was originally published on this site

Similar Posts