Russia Ukraine war live: Kyiv lowers conscription age as Putin replaces ‘dead’ Black Sea commander

Ukrainian MP reveals how Britain can help country win Russia war

Volodymyr Zelensky has lowered the minimum age for Ukraine’s military draft from 27 to 25, a move effective from today that analysts said would provide a significant boost to recruitment.

“Lowering the mobilisation age is one of many measures that Ukraine has been considering in an ongoing effort to create a sustainable wartime force-generation apparatus,” the Washington-based The Institute for the Study of War said.

Ukraine will now need an injected of new weaponry and equipment to kit out its newly mobilised personnel, the ISW said, pointing to the backdrop of delayed Western aid that could render the Zelensky administration’s move ineffective.

In Moscow, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced the appointment of a new Black Sea Fleet commander, almost seven months after previous Russian commander Admiral Viktor Sokolov was reported to have died.

Sokolov has been shown in two virtual appearances, but there are otherwise no reports of him being seen alive since a major Ukrainian attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base in occupied Crimea.

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Ukraine downs four Russian drones in overnight attack

Ukraine’s air force shot down all four drones used in Russia’s overnight attack on central regions, the Ukrainian military said on Wednesday.

The Shahed drones were destroyed over Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi and Zhytomyr regions. The attack caused a fire in Kirovohrad region which has since been put out, the region’s governor said on Telegram messaging app.

Separately, a Russian missile attack on Tuesday damaged four educational facilities and nine residential buildings in Dnipro, injuring 18 people, the Dnipropetrovsk region’s governor reported on Wednesday morning via Telegram.

Russia has recently intensified its attacks on Ukraine, targeting grid infrastructure to deal significant damage to the country’s power system.

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 07:54

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Russia claims 100,000 signed contracts to join military this year

More than 100,000 people have enlisted for military service under contract in the Russian armed forces this year, Russia’s defence ministry said today.

“Every day, up to 1,700 volunteers come to contract selection points across the country. Over the past 10 days, about 16,000 citizens have signed contracts to participate in a special military operation,” reported Russian state news agency RIA.

It also claimed that most of those who enlisted themselves in the military over the last week said they wanted to avenge the victims of the 22 March concert hall shooting near Moscow that killed at least 144 people.

Isis claimed responsibility for that attack but Russia has tried to argue that the perpetrators were linked to Ukraine, without providing evidence. Kyiv has strongly denied any involvement.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 07:03

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Nato’s Stoltenberg ‘proposes €100bn package for Ukraine’

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has proposed a €100bn package of military aid to Ukraine which would give the Western military alliance a more direct role in providing support to Kyiv, five diplomats have told Reuters.

Under the plan, Nato would take over some coordination work from a US-led coalition known as the Ramstein group – a step designed in part to guard against any cut in US support if Donald Trump returns to the White House, diplomats reportedly said.

The proposal is expected to be discussed at a two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers on Wednesday and Thursday, with the aim of finalising a package in time for a Nato summit in Washington in July, Reuters reported.

Andy Gregory3 April 2024 07:01

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Zelensky signs bill lowering mobilisation age from 27 to 25

Volodymyr Zelensky has signed new legislation to lower the mobilisation age for combat duty from 27 to 25, months after it was approved by parliament in May 2023.

The move expands the number of civilians the army can mobilise into its ranks to fight under martial law, which has been in place since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The signing of the legislation was not immediately announced by the president’s office. Parliament merely updated the entry for the bill on its website to read: “returned with the signature of the president of Ukraine”.

Mr Zelensky said last winter that he would only sign the bill if he was given a strong enough argument of the need to do so. He separately signed a second bill requiring men given waivers from some military service on disability grounds to undergo another medical assessment.

A third bill he also signed aimed to create an online database of those eligible for military service. Both those bills could potentially help the military draft more fighters.

A string of strict measures set out in an earlier draft of that bill were gutted following a public outcry.

Andy Gregory3 April 2024 06:00

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The ICC prosecutor and government officials are discussing justice and compensation for Ukraine

Ministers and officials from dozens of countries are gathering in the Netherlands for a conference on restoring justice in Ukraine, as the war sparked by Russia‘s invasion drags on in its third devastating year.

Among speakers will be the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and military officers linked to the war.

“The Netherlands believes it is of vital importance that truth and justice be achieved both for Ukraine and for all victims of Russia’s aggression,” the Dutch government said in a statement.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 05:56

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Russia replaces ‘dead’ Black Sea Fleet commander

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced the appointment of a new Black Sea Fleet commander, almost seven months after a Russian commander was reported to have died.

Vice Admiral Sergei Pinchuk has been appointed as commander of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF), Shoigu said. He replaces former BSF Commander Admiral Viktor Sokolov, who likely died as a result of a Ukrainian strike on the BSF headquarters in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea in September 2023.

Even though Sokolov was seen in two virtual appearances, there are no reports of him being seen alive after the Ukrainian attack in Crimea.

Russia has not officially confirmed Sokolov’s condition and he has not been seen since in public.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 05:31

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Zelensky signs bill to lower mobilisation age to 25 years

Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law lowering the Ukrainian military’s mobilisation age from 27 to 25 years of age, effectively bringing in more people in the ambit of mobilisation starting today.

The law was approved by the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada in May last year and will come into force today.

The change will help the war-hit nation recruit more new soldiers to fight back Russia’s invasion, the Institute for the Study of War said.

“Lowering the mobilisation age is one of many measures that Ukraine has been considering in an ongoing effort to create a sustainable wartime force-generation apparatus. Lowering the mobilisation age from 27 to 25 years of age will support the Ukrainian military’s ability to restore and reconstitute existing units and to create new units,” the ISW said.

It added that Ukraine will now need to “equip any newly mobilised military personnel with weapons, and prolonged US debates about military aid to Ukraine and delays in Western aid may impact the speed at which Ukraine can restore degraded and stand up new units”.

“ISW continues to assess that Western-provided material continues to be the greatest deciding factor for the Ukrainian military’s ability to restore and augment its combat power,” the US-based think-tank monitoring the war said.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 05:19

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Norway follows Denmark in planning an increase in conscripted soldiers

Norway has announced it will increase the number of conscripted soldiers from the present 9,000 to 13,500, following similar moves from Denmark amid concern over Russian aggression following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

“We must have enough people with the right skills at the right time,” defence minister Bjørn Arild Gram said. “We will need more people with professional military expertise going forward.”

Andy Gregory3 April 2024 05:01

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Putin vows to find the masterminds of the Moscow concert hall attack

Vladimir Putin vowed to track down the masterminds of the Moscow concert hall attack that left 144 people dead in the worst assault on Russian soil in two decades, and urged the country’s law enforcement agencies to tighten security at mass gatherings.

Putin has repeatedly sought to link the 22 March attack to Ukraine and the West despite the Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility and Kyiv’s vehement denial.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 04:53

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Ukrainian drone strikes Russia’s third-biggest refinery

A fire broke out at Russia’s third-largest oil refinery in the highly industrialised Tatarstan region after a Ukrainian drone struck it yesterday.

The primary refinery unit reportedly processes about 155,000 barrels of crude per day and did not suffer any critical damage, reports said.

The attack about 1,300km (800 miles) from the frontline was intended to reduce Russia’s oil revenue, a Ukrainian intelligence source said, confirming the attack on Tatneft’s Taneco refinery.

Russian state news agency RIA also confirmed that a fire broke out at the refinery but said it was extinguished within 20 minutes. It claimed that output had not been disrupted.

Arpan Rai3 April 2024 04:44

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