Russia Removes Maximum Age for Military

Putin decides to take recruits over 40, with the stated goal of adding specialists
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2022 3:10 PM CDT
Russia to Take Older Recruits
A Russian government photo released released Saturday shows Russian soldiers on an Mi-8 helicopter in Ukraine.   (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

With his forces sustaining heavy losses in the fighting in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the age limit off military service. Russians and foreigners older than 40 will be allowed to sign up as contract service members, CNN reports. Tass, the state news agency, said that the Duma approved the measure Wednesday and that Putin signed it into law. The age range for enlistees until now has been 18 to 40 for citizens and 18 to 30 for foreigners. Russia said the change is intended to add technical specialists, per the BBC.

A filing with the legislation said that specialists are needed to operate high-precision weapons and other military equipment and that they've acquired the needed experience by age 40 to 45. The recruits could include medics, engineers, and communications experts. Analysts estimate the number of Russia's professional contract soldiers at more than 400,000, in an active military of 900,000. Russia also drafts troops. The government first said conscripts would not be sent into combat in Ukraine but later conceded that some have been. Conscripts are among the POWs held by Ukraine.

US recruits for the armed services have to be at least 17. The Army's upper age limit is 35, the Marines 28, and the Navy and Air Force 39. The British Army takes recruits 16 through 36, per the BBC. The range for officers is 18 to 29, though older specialists are accepted. Israel requires military service for everyone starting at age 18—32 months for men and 24 months for women. Russia also has a service requirement of one year for men 18 to 27, though many of them receive student or medical exceptions. (More Russian military stories.)

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