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    Seven-year old cadets hold Ukrainian flags as they attend a ceremony on the occasion of the first day of school at a cadet lyceum in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016

    Lawmaker Proposes Preparing Ukrainian Children for Military Service From Age Six

    © AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky
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    Rada lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko has proposed that the Ukrainian state begin preparing children for military service from the age of six, pointing to the country's 'Cossack traditions'.

    Speaking to local media late last week, the Rada MP, who was earlier convicted in Russia of being an accomplice to the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine's civil war-torn southeast, said that Ukraine should look to its Cossack roots for inspiration on how to train children in the art of war.

    "The Ukrainian army must start at the age of six, and this shouldn't scare anyone," the lawmaker said. "If we recall the Cossack times, there [military training began] when a boy could stay in the saddle [of a horse]."

    Savchenko believes every child, boy or girl, should receive an 'obtainable' military specialty prior to completing school.

    "A pilot or submariner cannot be taught at school. But children can be trained up to the level of mortar gunner," she explained.

    Savchenko was granted a pardon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and returned to Ukraine last year, in exchange for two Russian citizens, who were being held in Ukrainian jails for their suspected involvement in the civil conflict in the Donbass. 

    Since her return to Kiev, the war criminal-turned-politician has caused an uproar in the Ukrainian political establishment for her radical proposals, including her statements that she is prepared to become the country's president, and her willingness to negotiate with Donbass breakaway leaders. Treated as a national hero by President Poroshenko and the Rada before her release, she has since been kicked out of Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party, and become an independent MP.

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    interview, remarks, Nadezhda Savchenko, Ukraine
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