President Zelensky says change needed in Ukraine’s mobilisation system

President Zelensky says change needed in Ukraine’s mobilisation system
President Zelensky says change needed in Ukraine’s mobilisation system

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards a Ukrainian serviceman at a position in the town of Kupiansk, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine November 30, 2023. — Picture courtesy of Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters

KYIV, Dec 2 — President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that changes were needed to improve Ukraine’s system of mobilisation as part of an overall strategy to improve the country’s military position in the 21-month-old war against Russia.

The issue of fine-tuning the process of mobilisation and recruitment has been under public discussion for some time.

Questions of corruption in the military, particularly in procurement and recruiting, have periodically seized public attention as Ukraine tries to press on with a counteroffensive that has so far produced only incremental gains.

In his nightly video address, Zelensky said a meeting of the military command had discussed scenarios to produce “concrete results” for 2024 in conditions of war.

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“In particular, this concerns the issue of mobilisation. Everyone in Ukraine understands that changes are needed in this domain,” he said.

“This is not simply a question of numbers, of who can be mobilised,” he said. “It’s a question of a time frame for each person who is now in the military, for demobilisation and for those who will join the military. And it’s about conditions.”

Zelensky said the issues had to be examined by commanders and the Defence Ministry for submission to the command.

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“There were several proposals today and I am awaiting comprehensive solutions,” he said.

One of Ukraine’s primary concerns is the sheer size of the Russian military and its practice of deploying waves of servicemen in frontline battles.

Zelensky’s comments coincided with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s signing of a decree ordering an increase of 170,000 in the Russian armed forces.

According to the document, the regular strength of the armed forces is now set at 1,320,000 servicemen.

Debate on altering procedures in Ukraine focuses on the extent of mobilisation, with commanders wanting to draw in younger and more skilled recruits.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a presidential adviser, speaking on national television this week, called for troop rotations to ensure sufficient numbers at the front. He said many Ukrainian brigades were dominated by soldiers already in their 50s.

Zelensky has long highlighted corrupt practices associated with recruiting offices, including widespread bribe-taking to secure medical exemptions from service.

In August, Zelensky dismissed all regional military recruitment bosses amid reports of corruption and practices he decried as “revolting”. — Reuters

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