Ukraine okays mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers

Ukraine’s parliament has endorsed a mobilization bill to enlist a significant number of reinforcements of troop, a process marked by debates over who will be compelled to join. While the exact number required remains unspecified, it is expected to be lower than the initial target of 500,000. Most of those enlisted will be 25- and 26-year-old men, subject to mandatory service for the first time.

Initially proposed with a provision allowing soldiers to leave after 36 months, the bill now excludes such demobilization, due to concerns from Ukrainian commanders about the war’s nearing three-year mark. Following multiple revisions and a heated debate, the bill finally passed its second reading on Thursday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has already signed certain provisions into law, including reducing the minimum conscription age for males to 25. While younger men can still volunteer, they won’t be compelled for frontline duty, and the maximum enlistment age remains 60.

Ukraine urgently requires new recruits to bolster its thinning frontlines and relieve combat-weary veterans amidst increasing casualties and fresh Russian offensives in the east. However, many who were eager to volunteer likely did so earlier.

Russia’s ongoing bombing campaign targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, causing extensive damage and casualties. Despite the conflict’s toll, the precise number of troop recruits needed remains unspecified.

A recent dispute arose over the removal of the demobilization clause, sparking concerns about the eligibility of thousands in the future. The Defence Ministry emphasized the necessity of maintaining military strength amid ongoing conflict.

While the bill awaits final approval by the speaker and the president, it’s expected to become law soon, possibly next month. Meanwhile, Russia has been reportedly mobilizing new recruits, although the figures released may be inflated.

Vladimir Putin announced at the close of 2023 that 486,000 recruits had joined the Russian army that year, with an additional claimed 1,500 signing contracts daily. Recently, Russia’s defense ministry asserted that another 100,000 recruits had enlisted in 2024 thus far.

The situation underscores the escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia, with both sides actively mobilizing their forces. As Ukraine grapples with the repercussions of the conflict and strives to strengthen its military capacity, the region remains volatile, with the potential for further escalation.

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