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Putin calls up another 150,000 men for Russian Army conscription amid Ukraine invasion – the highest figure for eight years

  • This story is breaking, more to come

Vladimir Putin has drafted another 150,000 troops into the Russian army, the highest number in eight years.

This comes as Orthodox priests have been ordered to pray in church for the dictator’s victory in the war.

The recruits are between 18 and 30 years old and will be called up between April 1 and July 15 due to the war against Ukraine.

Russia has promised that those forcibly conscripted for one year of military service will not be sent to the conflict zone in Ukraine.

But previous such vows have been broken by some conscripts – and they could also face action in border regions under attack by Ukraine, such as Belgorod and Kursk.

Vladimir Putin has drafted another 150,000 men into the Russian army

And conscripts are often pressured to sign contracts as full-scale soldiers, meaning they can be sent to the front lines.

Russia traditionally calls up conscripts in the spring and autumn, and this is the first recruitment campaign since Putin raised the upper age limit from 27 to 30.

Ukrainian telegram broadcaster Pravda Gerashchenko said: ‘It was possible to achieve such an amount of fresh ‘cannon fodder’ thanks to an amendment to increase conscription.

“Russians aged 18 to 30 will serve.”

The highest recent recruitment comes as Putin – whose signed order was unveiled today – is expected to demand a military offensive in the coming months to take advantage of the shortage of Western weapons in Ukraine.

Russian Orthodox priests have received a written instruction from Metropolitan Gregory of Voskresensky to pray for a Russian victory in a letter.

The prayer criticizes “those who want to fight have taken up arms against the Holy Russian” – while it was Russia that initiated the ongoing war against Ukraine in 2022.

The prayer asks God to “help Thy people and grant us victory by Thy power.”

Priests who do not say the prayer may be expelled.

Patriarch Kirill’s church order was unveiled by journalist and religious scholar Ksenia Luchenko, who said: “For the first time we see an official document regulating internal church support for war.”

More to follow.