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Zelensky introduces arms training for high school students

A new law aims to prepare Ukrainian citizens for “national resistance,” according to an explanatory note attached to the bill

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has signed a new law that introduces mandatory combined arms training for high school students and those attending higher education institutions in the country, according to a publication on the Verkhovnaya Rada’s website.

The bill was initially introduced in March. In May, Rada MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak reported that the Ukrainian parliament had adopted it. On Monday, a notice appeared under the website of the bill that it had been returned with Zelensky’s signature.

Under the new legislation, the training will be conducted as part of a new course developed in conjunction with the Defense Ministry, aimed at preparing citizens for “national resistance,” according to the explanatory note attached to the bill.

“The law is aimed at improving the system of combined arms training, which is carried out by studying the subject ‘Defense of Ukraine,’” the note reads.

Previously, the Rada published information outlining six modules featured in the new curriculum, which includes terrain orientation, shooting training, drone control skills, and various forms and methods of information warfare.

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The introduction of initial combat training for school and university students comes as the Ukrainian military struggles to replenish its ranks after suffering heavy casualties in the conflict with Russia, prompting Kiev to ramp up its mobilization efforts.

In April, Zelensky signed a law lowering the conscription age in Ukraine from 27 to 25, expanded the powers of enlistment officers, and introduced severe penalties for draft dodgers. He has also been urging citizens who have fled the country to avoid the draft to come back home.

In May, Zelensky approved legislation that provides a way for the military to draft certain prisoners, offering them parole if they enlist. According to the Washington Post, nearly 3,000 criminals, including those jailed for drugs, theft, armed assault, and murder, have already joined the army since the law was signed. Ukrainian Justice Minister Denis Maliuska told the outlet he expects at least 4,000 convicts to be drafted in the first round of recruitment.

June 18, 2024 at 06:47PM

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