Date: 13 December 2023 Author: Szymon Polewka

Ukraine to Change Conscription Rules

The protracted war consumes vast human and material resources that influence the military and political successes of both warring parties. While in Ukraine much of wartime logistics are influenced by external factors, in Russia domestic resources usually prevail. Among all the factors of waging war, none is as fundamental as the trained human resource manifested on the front in the form of conscripts.

SOURCE: Heathcliff O’Malley

Many Ukrainian and Russian families are indeed showing war fatigue. Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported that war-weary families of Ukrainian soldiers gathered on the streets of Ukrainian cities to demand a cap on mandatory military service. In a move that somewhat reflected war fatigue in Ukraine, in late November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to demobilize some conscripts, summoned to the military service. Consequently, the Ukrainian military is looking for 30,000 recruits to be sent to the front.

Zelensky’s comments coincided with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s signing of a decree ordering an increase of 130,000 in the Russian armed forces. Consequently, the regular strength of the armed forces is now set at 1,320,000 servicemen. To make matters worse, Ukrainian men flee the country to avoid fighting. A BBC Ukraine analysis of Eurostat data indicates that up to 768,000 men aged 18 to 64 currently have official temporary protection status in the EU.

British newspaper The Guardian cited a senior Ukrainian official saying that Ukraine was planning to change conscription practices to include the use of commercial recruitment firms to carry out more targeted conscription and also to reassure conscripts they would be deployed in roles that match their skills. The purpose is to involve conscripts in activities without deploying them to regular fighting.

Despite the setback of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and increasing war fatigue, 94 percent of Ukrainians believe in Ukraine’s victory in Russia’s full-scale war. As the Kremlin is still determined to wage the war, Ukraine has no other choice but to involve new conscripts. It is now all up to Ukrainian authorities to boost morale and to soldiers, tasked with defending the country.

Ron Popeski, Oleksandr Kozhukhar, Zelenskiy says change needed in Ukraine’s mobilisation system, Reuters, December 1, 2023.

Rusłan Szoszyn, Jak Ukraina i Rosja mobilizują żołnierzy, Rzeczpospolita, November 29, 2023.

Tetyana Oliynyku, Ukraine may change approach to mobilisation this week – The Guardian, Ukrainska Pravda, November 27, 2023.

Witold Rodkiewicz Tadeusz Iwański, Długa wojna. Ukraina i Rosja po niepowodzeniu ukraińskiej kontrofensywy, Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich, November 16, 2023.

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