Russia will keep its minimum conscription age at 18 despite past promises to raise the limit.
A proposed bill originally supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to raise the conscription age range from 18-27 to 21-30.
Russian Defense Committee Chair Andrei Kartapolov told the press that the bill had been amended to only raise the upper age limit to 30, keeping the lower limit at 18.
“We decided to keep the lower draft age limit at 18 years, because a lot of young men want to serve at 18,” Kartapolov said.
The bill must now get a vote of approval from the nation’s Federal Council before going to Putin’s desk to be signed into law. It is expected to be passed and will be implemented in the 2024 call-up.
The Russian government’s decision to expand the age range most likely aims to curb soldier shortages across the nation’s military.
Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has announced his intention to hold back from participating in the conflict after a falling out with Putin’s government.
In a video released Wednesday, Prigozhin seems to state that the mercenaries will not be participating in the invasion of Ukraine, saying, “What is going on the front line today is a shame in which we shouldn’t take part. We may return to the special military operation when we feel sure that we will not be forced to put shame on ourselves.”
Prigozhin is also heard stating that the Russian paramilitary group would be moving on to combat in Africa.
Putin offered Wagner mercenaries a chance to serve under the same commander during a meeting just days after their mutinous June march on Moscow was thwarted.