April 2, 2024

Institute for the Study of War:  Zelenskyy lowers military mobilization age to 25 as Russia claims capture of 400 square km since January

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on April 2 that lowers the Ukrainian military’s mobilization age from 27 to 25 years of age. The Verkhovna Rada approved the law in May 2023, and the law will come into force on April 3, 2024. Lowering the mobilization 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 mobilization 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. Ukraine will need to equip any newly mobilized 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 materiel continues to be the greatest deciding factor for the Ukrainian military’s ability to restore and augment its combat power.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed on April 2 that Russian forces seized about 400 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory in the first three months of 2024 — a rate of advance not necessarily reflective of wider Russian offensive prospects due to the impact of US security assistance delays. Shoigu claimed during a conference call with Russian military leadership on April 2 that Russian forces have seized 403 square kilometers of territory in Ukraine since the beginning of 2024. ISW has only observed visual evidence allowing ISW to confirm that Russian forces seized approximately 305 square kilometers between January 1 and April 1, 2024. ISW continues to assess that material shortages are forcing Ukraine to conserve ammunition and prioritize limited resources to critical sectors of the front, however, increasing the risk of a Russian breakthrough in other less-well-provisioned sectors and making the frontline overall more fragile than the current relatively slow rate of Russian advances makes it appear. Ukraine’s materiel constraints also offer Russian forces flexibility in how they conduct offensive operations, which can lead to compounding and non-linear opportunities for Russian forces to make operationally significant gains in the future.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on April 2 that lowers the Ukrainian military’s mobilization age from 27 to 25 years of age.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed on April 2 that Russian forces seized about 400 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory in the first three months of 2024 — a rate of advance not necessarily reflective of wider Russian offensive prospects due to the impact of US security assistance delays.
  • Ukraine conducted long-range unidentified unmanned aerial systems (UAS) strikes against Russian military production and oil refinery infrastructure in the Republic of Tatarstan, over 1,200 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address at the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) board meeting on April 2 illustrated Russia’s dissonant response to the March 22 Crocus City Hall terrorist attack as Russian authorities simultaneously pursue law enforcement actions against migrant communities while also baselessly implicating Ukraine. Putin also attempted to address intensified debates about migration that have emerged following the Crocus City Hall attack but continued to express an inconsistent and vague stance on the issue.
  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Deputy Chief Major General Vadym Skibitskyi stated on April 2 that the GUR believes that Russian forces will likely temporarily pause strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure in order to replenish low missile stockpiles.
  • US sanctions against Russia continue to impact Russian financial ties to post-Soviet countries, as Kyrgyzstan’s national payment system Elkart announced on April 2 that it would stop processing transactions using the Russian “Mir” payment system to prevent secondary sanctions.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reportedly proposed a NATO aid package that would send $100 billion of military assistance to Ukraine over five years.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Kreminna and Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on April 2.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on April 2 that the Russian military intends to finish and deploy several newly constructed small missile and patrol ships in 2024.
  • The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is increasing its law enforcement presence in occupied Ukraine in order to intensify Russian control over Ukrainian civilians and strengthen security over critical infrastructure.

For full report: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-2-2024

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