Russia has scrapped its age limit for professional soldiers, paving the way for more civilian experts to be recruited for the Ukraine conflict.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a law enabling people over 40 to enlist for the armed forces. They are expected to be people of normal working age.
Previously the army had age limits of 18-40 years for Russians and 18-30 for foreigners.
The new law says specialists are required to operate high-precision weapons and “experience shows that they become such by the age of 40-45”. More medics, engineers and communications experts may also be recruited.
Ukrainian and Western military experts say Russia has suffered heavy losses in the war: about 30,000 killed, according to Ukraine, while the UK government estimates the toll at about 15,000. Soviet losses in nine years of war in Afghanistan were about 15,000.
Russia gave a total of 1,351 dead on 25 March, which it has not updated.
President Putin has avoided large-scale conscription for what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.