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Ukrainian military vows to boost numbers by any means

Citizens should volunteer now rather than wait to be forcibly mobilized, a Defense Ministry spokesman has advised

Ukraine will boost the size of its army one way or another, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday as cited by local media, adding that citizens should not delude themselves into thinking that only volunteers will have to fight.

President Vladimir Zelensky previously stated that the Ukrainian military was looking to enroll between 450,000 and 500,000 people into the armed forces. Illarion Pavlyuk, the ministry spokesman, said on national television that the enlistment goals will be achieved through a combination of volunteer recruitment and mandatory conscription.

“We urge people to join the armed forces voluntarily, without waiting for a mobilization summons, and offer them the chance to choose their specialty,” he said. “But it does not mean that only those who want to serve will do, or that one can pick from only non-combat jobs.”

The official said the military would prefer to see more volunteers but that it will make up the difference through mobilization.

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FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov
Ukraine tells draft dodgers to return home and fight

Zelensky reported the target draft number during a press conference on Tuesday. He implied that he had reservations about some of the ideas being floated by the military leadership, such as mobilizing women, and claimed that the plan would come at a price tag of $13.4 billion for Ukraine.

German media reported this week that Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov wanted male citizens aged between 25 and 60 who reside in foreign nations to report for mobilization or face sanctions and dishonor.

Kiev shut its border for men of conscription age after the hostilities with Russia erupted in February last year, banning anyone without a special waiver from leaving. However, the tabloid Bild reported that 221,571 Ukrainian men have arrived in Germany since then and 189,484 remained in the country.

In comments to Ukrainian media on Wednesday, Pavlyuk claimed that German journalists had “shifted the emphasis” of the minister’s remarks. He clarified that at this time no legal mechanisms to pressure or punish those dodging the draft on foreign soil are being considered.


READ MORE: No NATO invite, no elections, failed counteroffensive: Key quotes from Zelensky’s press conference

Meanwhile, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Zelensky, suggested on Friday that Kiev could convince host nations to strip social benefits and residency permits of draft-dodgers in order to coerce them to return.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Ukrainian losses since the start of the conflict at over 383,000, with roughly half of the casualties sustained during the so-called summer counteroffensive, which Kiev launched in early June.

December 22, 2023 at 07:31PM
RT

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