Russia could increase the age of conscription for military service

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A former Russian deputy minister of defence has suggested the country could increase the age of conscription for military service from 27 to 30 for this year’s spring draft campaign, the BBC Russian service reported.

Andrey Kartapolov, the head of the State Duma Defence Committee suggested the change could take place without altering the lower bar for conscription of 18 years.

Last year, defence minister Sergei Shoigu proposed changing the draft age limits raising the upper limit to 30 but also the lower bar to 21.

Kartopolov appears to be talking about a transitional option, in which there will be no increase in the lower limit yet, the BBC Russian service said.

However, no amendments to the age limits have been approved or even introduced.

In Other Developments

* Moscow named a new commander for its invasion of Ukraine while Russian private military firm Wagner Group said its capture of the salt mining town Soledar in eastern Ukraine was complete.

FIGHTING

* The head of Wagner said his forces had achieved the complete “liberation” of Soledar, killing around 500 pro-Ukraine troops.

* In a video address aired before the statement, Ukrainian President Zelenskiy mocked Russian claims to have taken over parts of Soledar, saying that fighting was still going on.

* Capture of the strategic town would be Moscow’s most substantial gain since a series of retreats throughout much of the second half of 2022.

* Russia’s defence ministry said airborne units had cut off Soledar from the north and south, and the Wagner contract militia published pictures of the group’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin with fighters inside what appeared to be Soledar’s mines.

* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

* The crackle of gunfire and roar of armoured vehicles reverberated around sleepy west Ukrainian towns near the Belarusian border on Wednesday as Kyiv’s forces trained for the threat of a fresh assault across a new front in the north.

* Russia and Ukraine have agreed on an exchange of 40 prisoners of war each, Russian and Ukrainian officials said.

AID/ECONOMY

* Poland has decided to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of an international coalition, the Polish president said, as Warsaw seeks to play a leading role in reaching a consensus among Western allies on such support.

* Zelenskiy urged NATO to do more than just promise Ukraine its door is open at a July summit, saying Kyiv needs “powerful steps” as it tries to join the military alliance.

* Russian oil revenues are falling due to the price cap that Western countries imposed on its crude oil shipments, a U.S. Treasury official said. The Kremlin said it had not yet seen any cases of the price caps on Russian oil.

Photo: Video grab from Russian MOD video

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