Russian lawmakers have scrapped the age limit for enlisting in the military amid rising casualty numbers following the invasion of Ukraine.
The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, approved Wednesday legislation to remove the upper age limit for those called up for service in the army. Only Russians between 18 and 40 and foreigners from 18 to 30 currently are able to enlist as professional soldiers.
Officials in Moscow said the measure would make it easier for military officials to recruit hard-to-find specialists, including those with medical and engineering skills, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The use of high-precision weapons and the operation of weapons and military equipment require highly professional specialists. Experience shows that they become such by the age of 40-45,” Russian officials said in a statement to The Journal.
British military officials estimate that up to 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the fighting in Ukraine since the invasion three months ago. The numbers are similar to the number of Soviet casualties during almost a decade of fighting in Afghanistan during the Cold War.