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Expert explains need and reasons for another 500,000 mobilized Ukrainians

Expert explains need and reasons for another 500,000 mobilized Ukrainians Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)

The General Staff has proposed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to mobilize an additional 450-500 thousand Ukrainians. However, this doesn't imply an increase in the Armed Forces personnel but rather the replacement of those soldiers who have been at the front since the beginning of the full-scale war, states military expert and retired Major of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksii Hetman, in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

Why is additional mobilization needed?

The articulated figure of 500,000 people during President Zelenskyy's press conference isn't an additional number of individuals for mobilization, Hetman notes. According to him, this concerns the replacement of those who have already spent two years in the war.

"We have many individuals who have been in combat for several years; they need to rest. There should be people to replace them. Perhaps those who have fought for a year or two might need to be relieved because a person cannot (fight - Ed.) for that long. People have given everything they had - their health, their strength," explains the expert.

However, Hetman adds that mobilization doesn't only mean deployment to the front lines as there are various roles beyond the conflict zones.

"I understand that many don't want to be mobilized. It should be understood that mobilization doesn't necessarily mean taking a rifle and going to the front. There is a lot of work in the Armed Forces besides the front line. Engineering work, mobile operations, reconnaissance, communication units, construction services, accounting, arms services. Even a so-called orchestra service, officers dealing with personnel, chaplains. The list goes on," he says.

According to Hetman, the stated need for 500,000 individuals is entirely justified, but whoever proposed this figure should provide the rationale behind it. However, if the military has specified such a number, they must have certain justifications.

"The commander informs the supreme commander-in-chief that there should be such a number of people. Of course, the president says - justify why this number, maybe even more is needed. This is entirely normal. But Zaluzhnyi shouldn't provide the rationale; it's the General Staff. And they must provide all the information on why so many people are needed," states Hetman.

The General Staff intends to mobilize an additional 500,000 people

Earlier in August this year, Zelenskyy mentioned that military officials approached him requesting the opportunity to mobilize more people into the army. And at the beginning of November, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi advocated for expanding mobilization to enable the replacement of soldiers on the front lines.

Today, during a press conference, Zelenskyy mentioned that Zaluzhnyi and the General Staff had requested the mobilization of an additional 450-500 thousand Ukrainians.

"They addressed the defense of our state and potential counteroffensive actions regarding the deficit. Their view was, they proposed mobilizing an additional 450-500 thousand people," said the president.

However, he noted that he wanted to hear more arguments in favor of making such a decision from the military. Additionally, according to Zelenskyy, mobilizing such a number of Ukrainians will cost the state an additional 500 billion hryvnias.

"Therefore, as the President of Ukraine, as someone who devotes a lot of time to finding financial support for Ukraine, I would like understanding from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance - where will the money come from?" added the head of state.

Changes in mobilization in Ukraine are underway

The Parliament is currently working on bills to alter the approaches to mobilization. One such document has already been registered in the parliament, while another is in the final stages of approval in the Parliament.

Specifically, Ukrainians may be required to independently go to the Territorial Centers for Recruiting and carry documents related to military registration. Additionally, lawmakers are considering the possibility of sending conscription notices to military conscripts by mail.

Moreover, Ukrainians have received an alternative path to enter the army. The Ministry of Defense initiated a recruiting system at the end of the year. While not replacing mobilization, it offers Ukrainians the choice of which unit or position they wish to be mobilized into within the military.

"We must understand, unfortunately, the war continues, unfortunately, not only those who want to but also those for whom fate and honor dictate will serve in the army. It's a heavy burden, but it's an honor," stated Illarion Pavliuk, a representative of the Ministry of Defense.