Ukraine mulls conscription to tackle Russian 'aggression'

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's Parliament voted on Thursday to have acting President Oleksandr Turchynov urgently consider bringing back conscription to boost military readiness in the face of Russian "aggression".

The move came as tensions ratcheted up in Ukraine's east, where separatist rebels have taken control of public buildings in nearly 10 towns and rebuffed attempts by the army to oust them.

Kiev's leaders and many Western countries say Moscow is fomenting the insurgency and playing a leading role by deploying its special forces and military intelligence officers to the region. Russia also has tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine's border in what NATO fears could be preparation for an invasion.

The lawmakers in Kiev approved a text "to recommend to the acting president to restart conscription into the Ukraine armed forces without delay" in order to "bolster Ukraine's defence capabilities in connection with aggression from the Russian Federation".

Ukraine scrapped compulsory military service for young men only this year, under a law introduced in 2013 by Viktor Yanukovych, the Kremlin-friendly president who ended up fleeing mass pro-Western demonstrations two months ago.

Ukraine currently has 130,000 personnel in its armed forces.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.