Ukrainian army mostly ‘very old men’ – commander
The average age of soldiers in the Ukrainian army is over 40 years old, Aleksey Tarasenko, commander of Kiev's 5th Assault Brigade, has claimed, adding that the military is in dire need of younger recruits.
Speaking to Espresso TV on Sunday, Tarasenko said it is “outlandish and perplexing” to hear that some people doubt the need for another mobilization.
“The military is eagerly awaiting fresh reinforcements because the situation in many units is critical in terms of personnel,” he explained. “Even those who do come often leave much to be desired. Mostly, these are men of a much older age with a multitude of problems that typically arise.”
The military desperately needs “young men” because those who joined the army at the very beginning of the conflict are mostly “gone,” he said, adding that the average age of the soldiers is over 40.
Tarasenko’s remarks came after the parliament asked the government for additional revisions of a much-debated bill that would lower the maximum draft age from 27 to 25, limit deferrals, and increase penalties for draft dodgers. Critics say the bill contains provisions that violate the constitution and pave the way for corruption.
Last month, President Vladimir Zelensky revealed that the army had requested the mobilization of between 450,000 and 500,000 people. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, however, denied that the military asked for a specific number of new fighters.
Nevertheless, the situation prompted the authorities to consider options for replenishing battlefield losses, including the introduction of electronic call-up papers, and to explore the conscription of women.
The governor of Nikolaev Region, Valery Kim, warned at the time that conscripting half a million people “is not enough” and Ukraine needs to enlist at least 2 million.
Ukraine does not reveal its casualty numbers. According to Russia’s estimates, around 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded during the conflict, including 125,000 over the course of Kiev’s failed counteroffensive between early June and late November.