Thursday Briefing

Ukrainian soldiers training in the Donetsk region this week.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Ukraine lowered its draft age to 25

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law lowering Ukraine’s draft age from 27 to 25, an attempt to replenish the ranks of a battered army that could create a political backlash. He also signed laws to eliminate some medical exemptions and create a database to crack down on draft dodgers.

Parliament passed the draft law last May, but Zelensky had delayed signing it in the hope that it would not be needed. But casualty rates are high, most men who want to volunteer have already done so, and many soldiers have been in combat continuously for two years.

Russia has been on the offensive, and Ukraine’s generals have warned of a broader attack in the spring or the summer. Even with an influx of new soldiers and much-needed weaponry from the U.S., Ukraine is expected this year to hold the existing front lines — at best.

Concerns: Lowering the draft age will mobilize thousands of healthy and rested soldiers, but it poses long-term risks for Ukraine’s population, given the country’s demographics.

NATO: The alliance’s top diplomat said that it was poised to take more control over military support for Ukraine from the U.S. amid worries about the reliability of American aid, especially if Donald Trump returns to the White House.

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