After nine months of hesitating over the issue, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has agreed to lower the draft age for calling up reservists from 27 to 25. This will allow the army to enlist up to 400,000 new recruits for service on the front. Previously, younger men could only be deployed as conscripts away from the front. The reactions in the press are mixed.

No alternative

The Süddeutsche Zeitung approves of the move:

“The Ukrainian army is on the defensive and Russian troops are advancing further into the Donbass with each day that passes. Western experts are already talking of a scenario in which the Russian army advances as far as the Dnieper once more, thus occupying half of Ukraine. Zelensky must do something to counter this, and that includes recruiting young soldiers. As difficult as this decision may be, Russia's war of aggression leaves him no choice.”


Don't leave it to the young to do all the fighting

Blogger and soldier Igor Lutsenko calls on Facebook for older volunteers to be allowed to serve in the army:

“Now the risk of death or injury hangs over a greater number of those who must live so that Ukraine - and with it all people who think rationally - can exist. But I would like to express my confusion as to why we send young people to the front but refuse to let those over 60 do military service? Many men of this age who are in good health and have experience in combat or unique technical skills have applied to join my unit. ... But I have to turn them down because that's the law. ... Why? Why are we not using this resource?”

Video Captures Moment of Airstrike on Kharkiv Hypermarket
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Video Captures Moment of Airstrike on Kharkiv Hypermarket

The target was the Epicenter construction hypermarket, which had over 200 people inside at the time.

Macron's proposal no longer just a remote possibility

The idea of sending EU troops will likely have to be reconsidered, writes Il Fatto Quotidiano:

“'The Ukrainian front line threatens to collapse', they say - also because of a shortage of men who can be sent to the front. A problem that could provoke a dangerous escalation of the conflict ... The belligerent statements of French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders who have not ruled out the possibility of deploying European troops to the Ukrainian battlefield should therefore be reconsidered. If the intention really is to maintain Ukraine's military resistance at all costs, these statements cannot be regarded as mere political outbursts.”

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