Russian forces are likely preparing for a larger military conscription amid its war in Ukraine, after Russia's parliament introduced a bill that raises the age of service from 18-27, to 21-30, intelligence from the United Kingdom claimed.
In a defense update, British intelligence officials reported on Saturday that the legislation is likely to pass parliament and will go into effect in January. However, the aging out increase would go into effect immediately. Raising the minimum age to serve would rise slightly through 2026.
Young men in Russia often exempt conscription into the military to pursue higher education. However, raising the age requirement means that men will now likely serve at some point. Although the men are not supposed to fight in Ukraine, British intelligence said it believes hundreds are fighting anyways because of "mismanagement."
Another way Russia can send troops to fight in the war is by sending them to the four territories, such as Crimea, that have been annexed from Ukraine, the Moscow Times reported. Russia views the annexed lands as part of its own.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of its reserve forces in September to replace depleted troops. The move was the first time that a large call-up had been issued in Russia since World War II. The partial mobilization supplied as many as 300,000 reservists. The call-up resorted in numerous protests throughout the country.
Putin also approved a bill in December that would increase the Russian military from 1.15 million soldiers to 1.5 million. Russia has continued calling forward forces twice a year since the days of the Soviet Union, but the partial mobilization did not count towards the twice annual call-up, according to British intelligence.
Russia entered its second year of war with Ukraine in February, and has been charged with war crimes related to deporting children from Ukraine. The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday. Although Putin has not commented on the charges, a spokesman for the Kremlin claimed the charges were "outrageous and unacceptable."