Ukraine Expands Draft – Again

Ukraine is having trouble filling military ranks
Ukraine is having trouble filling military ranks.

By David Sole

Just days after President Zelensky signed a bill lowering Ukraine’s draft age from 27 to 25, his parliament passed an extensive law for full military mobilization. These actions reflect the desperate military situation Ukraine has gotten itself into by fighting a proxy war for the United States against the Russian Federation.

Ukraine is no longer able to cover up the tremendous losses in killed and wounded suffered over the past 26 months. An ill-conceived offensive by Ukraine launched in June 2023 went on for over four months but won no gains on the battlefield. Instead, Ukraine’s losses were enormous in losses of troops and equipment. Ukrainian troops have been fighting continuously and are reported to be exhausted and demoralized.

The New York Times gave a frank assessment in an April 11 report. The bill “aims to replenish the nation’s exhausted and depleted fighting forces, which are struggling to hold back relentless Russian assaults that are expected to intensify into the summer.

This new mobilization law goes much further than the previous act, which it should be noted President Zelensky waited a full year before signing into law. The political and military leaders in Ukraine greatly fear the growing anger of the Ukrainian public which is being sacrificed solely for the aim of expanding NATO to Russia’s borders.

A number of financial incentives to attract new recruits are not expected to pull in large numbers to brutal combat at the front lines. So “It also imposes new penalties on Ukrainian men trying to evade service, like suspending the driver’s licenses of those who fail to register.” Other parts of the bill demand all eligible Ukrainians, including men who are among the over five million who left the country, sign up and respond to the draft. This includes all men from the age of 18 to 60.

Ukrainians were looking for one section of the law that would have limited the time served by any draftee to 36 months. The Times reported “perhaps as important as what was included in the legislation is what was cut – namely a timeline for when conscripts will be demobilized, something that both soldiers and their families had been demanding after more than two years of brutal war” but this was “removed at the request of the military.”

It is unlikely that calling up large numbers of reluctant men to fight without being able to provide heavy equipment against more numerous and better armed Russian forces will change the tide of the war. Currently the Russian Federation is pressing forward on many fronts. Repressive measures against Ukraine’s own people by its Western guided proxy leadership very well might provoke resistance and rebellion among the Ukrainian army and public at large.

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