Russia extends eligibility for military call-up by at least five years

(Reuters) – Russia’s parliament on Tuesday extended the maximum age at which men can be mobilised to serve in the army by at least five years – in the case of the highest-ranking officers, up to the age of 70.

Last September, Russia announced its first mobilisation since World War Two, calling up more than 300,000 former soldiers in an often-chaotic emergency draft to support its war in Ukraine, a campaign that has been much longer and more attritional than Moscow had expected, and shows no sign of ending.

It is already raising the upper age limit for men to be called up for compulsory military service to 30 from 27, and has made it much harder for young men to avoid the draft by dodging recruiters handing out call-up papers.

The law passed on Tuesday allows men who have completed their compulsory service without any further commitment to be mobilised up to the age of 40, 50 or 55, depending on their category, the State Duma or lower house of parliament said on its website. In all cases the age limit was raised by five years.

Russia also maintains a “mobilised reserve” of men who have signed up to receive periodic military training and a stipend after their compulsory or professional service ends.

The new law means that those from this reserve with the highest ranks can now be called back into service up to the age of 70 rather than 65, other senior ranks up to 65, junior officers up to 60 – and all others up to the age of 55 rather than 45.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said he plans to increase the basic number of combat personnel in service – professional contract soldiers and conscripts – to 1.5 million from 1.15 million.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Sharon Singleton)