The Ukrainian Parliament approves a draft law on mobilization to increase the number of troops News of the Russian-Ukrainian war

The general told parliament that Russian forces outnumber Kiev's soldiers by up to 10 times on battlefields in the east.

Ukraine's parliament has passed a bill to reform how the military recruits civilians in a bid to boost the number of its soldiers more than two years after Russia's large-scale invasion.

The bill, which dropped a set of tough penalties for evading military service that had sparked public outrage, was supported by the armed forces.

Before the bill was passed on Thursday, a general told parliament that Russia had up to 10 times as many soldiers as Ukraine on battlefields in the east.

General Yuri Sudol told lawmakers: “Pass this law and the Ukrainian armed forces will not let you or the Ukrainian people down.”

“We are maintaining our defenses with the last of our strength,” he said as lawmakers stood and praised more than a dozen leaders who attended the session.

Military analysts said the Ukrainian armed forces needed to address severe manpower and artillery shortages as better-equipped Russian forces made advances in the east.

“The enemy outnumbers us by seven to ten times. We lack manpower,” said Sudol, who commands Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

Jaroslav Zeleznyak, a lawmaker from the Holos party, wrote on the messaging app Telegram that the bill was approved by 283 votes in the 450-member parliament.

The bill still needs President Volodymyr Zelensky's signature before it becomes law.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire from an M101 howitzer towards Russian positions on the front line near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. [File: Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo]

Penalties for draft evasion have been removed

The legislation is intended to give the military a better indication of how many people it can call in and where they are located.

See also  Ukraine evacuates civilians from besieged Sumy, but millions remain trapped by fighting with Russia

The bill gives Ukrainian men 60 days to update their personal data with military authorities. Until now, drafting offices have had to rely on incomplete and sometimes outdated data.

It also removes a set of far-reaching penalties for draft evasion that were proposed in an earlier draft, sparking outrage. There were thousands of cases of evasion of military service during the war.

The bill also abolished a previous provision on demobilizing soldiers who had been fighting for 36 months, meaning wartime military service remains open.

Representative Oleksandr Fedenko said that passing the bill would send “a message to our partners that we are ready to regain our lands and we need weapons.” Ukraine faces a slowdown in Western military aid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inspects fortifications in the Kharkiv region.  He is walking in the mud with other officials.  The landscape is brown and there are trees behind it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, second from right, visits a defensive line construction site in the Kharkiv region [Ukrainian presidential press service/Handout via AFP]

Maxim Gorin, deputy commander of Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade, said the law would not lead to “miracles” on the battlefield. “This will undoubtedly bring more order and methodology in general to the issue of mobilization,” he said on television, adding that it would not solve all the problems.

He added: “Personally, I will make it more stringent, and I will also continue to lower the conscription age.”

Last week, Zelensky signed separate legislation into law to lower the conscription age from 27 to 25. Parliament is considering another bill to allow convicts serving suspended sentences to fight in the army. Representative Mariana Pezuhla criticized the bill on Facebook, saying: “They made it as watered down and confusing as possible, and months were wasted.”

Parliament took several months to put the latest bill to a final vote this week, with politicians accusing each other of poorly drafted amendments and lacking the political will to approve the unpopular changes.

See also  A Norwegian cruise ship ran aground in the Dominican Republic

More than 4,000 amendments were submitted after the first reading in February. MPs rejected most of the amendments and significantly watered down initial proposals on penalties for those trying to evade the project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *