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Ukraine Starts Last Mandatory Draft

A Ukrainian armored personnel carrier tows a trolleybus behind it on a road covered with snow in Kyiv. (file photo)
KYIV -- The last mandatory drafting of conscripts into the Ukrainian armed forces is under way.

The Defense Ministry announced on October 1 that by the end of 2014 the Ukrainian armed forces will be comprised of soldiers serving on contracts only.

The last mandatory draft in October-November will bring 10,800 conscripts into Ukraine's armed forces, or 2,500 conscripts fewer than in the previous draft season.

Ukraine -- which currently has the fifth-largest army in Europe with 180,000 soldiers -- plans to reduce the army's size to 122,000 soldiers by 2017.

In accordance with the outgoing law, all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 27 must serve for one year in the national army or for 18 months in the Ukrainian Navy.

With reporting by