Ukraine, Zelenskyy Faces New Challenges to Military Draft

( – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will consider a petition to draft civil servants and politicians into the country’s conflict with Russia after a required number of signatures was reached to propel the initiative into the spotlight.

At the outset of the war, Zelensky called up reserves and a general draft soon followed with all men between the ages of 18 and 60 considered eligible for conscription. The government even declared they weren’t allowed to leave Ukraine without special dispensation.

Last week marked changes to Ukraine’s desperate need for troops as the conflict with Russia drags on with heavy losses. As recently as August 2023, the New York Times reported that Ukrainian casualties were approaching half a million dead. Granted, with the fog of war, it’s incredibly difficult to get an accurate read on the situation.

Zelenskyy has previously championed efforts to battle corruption and has overseen many officials in his administration being booted for corrupt practices. Ukrainians have attempted to bribe doctors to get medical exemptions from the military. Military recruiters have been exposed engaged in a variety of abuses made profitable due to the war and influx of foreign cash.

The petition seeks to eliminate a prohibition on public servants from eligibility for conscription and was written by a former legislator who was expelled from Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People Party in 2021, Oleksandr Dubinsky.

Dubinsky is a frequent thorn in Zelensky’s side, he’s been harassed by the Ukrainian government for allegedly traveling abroad during wartime for a vacation and stands charged with “subversive activities” for his part in criticizing Joe Biden’s past involvement in Ukrainian politics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an order seeking 170,000 new Russian soldiers to fight in the campaign.

The war hasn’t been going well for Ukraine, despite ample international support in terms of financial and material support. A Ukrainian soldier went public with claims front-line soldiers battling over the Dneiper River felt abandoned by leadership in Kyiv. He claimed soldiers were being forced to pay for their equipment and they were severely in need of more men.

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