The Ukrainian Armed Forces are in dire need of younger recruits because the average age of a soldier is way over 40 years old, said Alexey Tarasenko, commander of the 5th Assault Brigade.
Speaking to Espresso TV on Sunday, Tarasenko said that it is “outlandish and perplexing” to hear that some people doubt the need for additional mobilization.
“The military is eagerly waiting for fresh reinforcements because the situation in many units is critical in terms of personnel,” the commander lamented. “Even those who do come often leave much to be desired. Mostly, these are men of a much older age with a multitude of problems that typically arise [at that age].”
The military desperately needs “young men” because those who joined the army at the very beginning of the conflict are mostly “gone,” he said, adding the average age of soldiers is above 40.
Tarasenko’s remarks came after Ukraine’s parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – asked the government for additional revisions of the much-debated bill that would expand the pool of men available for conscription. The proposed legislation would lower the maximum draft age from 27 to 25, limit deferrals, and increase penalties for draft dodgers. The critics have argued that the bill contains provisions that violate the constitution and pave a way for corruption.
Last month, President Vladimir Zelensky revealed that the army had requested to mobilize between 450,000 and 500,000 people. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, however, denied that the military asked for a specific number of new fighters. Nevertheless, the situation prompted the authorities to consider different options for replenishing battlefield losses, including the introduction of electronic call-up papers, and to explore the conscription of women.
The governor of Nikolaev region, Valery Kim, warned at the time that conscripting half a million people “is not enough” and Ukraine needs to enlist at least two million.
Ukraine does not reveal its casualty numbers. According to Russia’s estimates, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded during the conflict, including 125,000 over the course of Kiev’s failed counteroffensive between early June and late November.
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