National military reserves currently insufficient to deal with protracted conflict with Russia, lawmaker involved in conscription issues admits
Ukraine will likely step up its mobilization efforts to replace combat casualties during the summer counteroffensive and potentially create “new brigades”, predicted a Ukrainian MP involved in military affairs. Currently, military reserves are insufficient to provide frontline troops with sufficient rest time, he said.
Sergei Rakhmanin, who sits on the parliamentary committee on security, defense and intelligence, painted a gloomy picture of Ukraine’s mobilization system in an interview with the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper on Wednesday. The program suffers from recruit apathy, bureaucracy, structural problems and corruption, according to its description.
As Kiev seeks new sources of manpower, Rakhmanin has designated those currently shielded from mobilization, men who have left Ukraine and convicts in prison as groups considered for conscription, but has stated that all of these present certain problems.
“Until recently, citizens under the age of 28 who had never served in the armed forces could not be drafted. Military officials insisted they needed this resource and asked us to lower the baseline. » the lawmaker said.
Parliament approved the measures in the spring, but President Vladimir Zelensky has not yet signed the bill, Rakhmanin said, suggesting that the presidential office feared a negative public reaction. He emphasized that “For just one to go to war, ten must work in the rear”and that Ukraine has a “severe shortage of qualified workers” due to long-standing demographic problems.
Trying to extradite draft dodgers from other countries would be difficult, Rakhmanin argued. Convicts pose a clear risk when they are given weapons. Meanwhile, some front-line Ukrainian troops are exhausted because they haven’t had a real break in months, if not years.
“We have no physical possibility of rotating the brigades correctly” said the deputy. “To achieve this, we need a stronger army. »
The best soldiers can currently expect is to be removed from the trenches for two to three weeks, “so that they can breathe and have a minimum of supplies and weapons” before being fired, he said.
Ukrainian conscription officer reveals huge number of casualties
Ukraine’s conscription officials are grappling with citizens’ reluctance to join the army. Rakhmanin estimated that the country had attracted all willing volunteers by mid-2022, saying the total number was “an incredible” 400,000.
Some military units that maintain good public relations have become good recruiters by targeting people “choose between waiting for a draft opinion and volunteering”, according to the legislator. These people would prefer to join a brigade with a “winning reputation” whom they perceive as successful fighters, then take their chances by assigning them random missions through the mobilization system, he explained.
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