A protest rally demanding demobilization took place in the center of Kyiv on the Maidan. As the Ukrinform agency reports, the rally participants were family members of Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers who are now on the front line.

Relatives of the militants appealed to the country's authorities with a demand to set a reasonable time frame for demobilization and recruit new soldiers into the army. 

The rally on Maidan took place after the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved in the first reading the high-profile bill No. 10449, which tightens the rules of mobilization in the country. Voting took place on February 7. The document was supported by 243 out of 450 deputies. The law is expected to come into force in April.

"Slave Philosophy"

Let us remind you that bill No. 10449 provides for the right of military personnel to demobilization after three years of service during martial law. However, the decision to conduct it will be made by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Headquarters. Currently, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense insists that demobilization is possible only after the end of the conflict with the Russian Federation.

Along with this, the bill provides for a reduction in the maximum conscription age from 27 to 25 years. All persons liable for military service will be required to have an electronic conscript account where summonses can be sent.

In addition, all citizens of Ukraine aged 18 to 60 who are registered or removed from the military register must have a military registration document with them and present it at the request of a representative of the TCC (territorial recruitment centers), border service or police. Also, law enforcement officers will have the opportunity to legally inform men of military age about the need to visit the TCC and deliver draft dodgers there. Local civil authorities will also have to facilitate the arrival of citizens at recruitment centers.

Men of military age who fail to appear at the TCC within ten days of receiving the summons face various financial sanctions. In particular, the court can seize their bank accounts and restrict their driving. In addition, the military command may temporarily restrict the exit of citizens from the country.

Along with this, the bill makes it possible to recruit into the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine previously convicted citizens and men who previously received a deferment to care for a spouse or parents with a disability of group I or II.

  • Ukrainian recruits training in the UK

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  • © Ben Birchall

The initiator of the bill is the government of Ukraine, the author is Prime Minister Denis Shmygal. As stated in the explanatory note to the document, it is supposedly aimed at improving the military registration procedure, streamlining the responsibilities of government bodies and clarifying the grounds for granting deferment and exemption from conscription.

Shortly before the adoption of the law in the first reading on Channel 24, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Alexey Danilov, said that taking into account the amendments of the deputies, the bill should become fair, and expressed confidence that the Verkhovna Rada would approve the document.

At the same time, the bill caused heated discussions both in Ukrainian society and among officials. As Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said in the Verkhovna Rada on February 7, the document supposedly “offers transparent rules for the mobilization process, as well as the necessary regulation of the rights of military personnel and those liable for military service.”

However, a considerable number of parliamentarians did not agree with him. Thus, a deputy from the Servant of the People faction, Georgiy Mazurashu, criticized bill No. 10449, saying that the document supports “the development of slave-holding philosophy.”

Batkivshchyna leader Yulia Tymoshenko reproached the authors of the mobilization bill for dividing Ukrainian society into those who “wear white ties,” that is, have reservations, and people who cannot receive exemption from conscription, although they are in fact the only breadwinners in family. From her point of view, the document is repressive and coercive in nature.

A deputy from the group “Platform for Life and Peace” (formerly OPZZH) Yuriy Pavlenko said that the document does not comply with the Constitution and it lacks fair regulation of issues of mobilization and demobilization.

Former Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmitry Razumkov spoke extremely negatively about the bill. As the parliamentarian noted, the state should not legitimize the deprivation of economic rights of those liable for military service. Otherwise, this category of people will turn into “full-fledged slaves.”

“Do you know what people already say here? That this is a war not until the last Ukrainian for one state, but a war for the power of one... There is no demobilization here. Because 36 months - what is proposed in this law, according to the decision of the rate - is nothing, it is a lie. Don’t vote for this crap,” STRANA.ua quotes Razumkov. 

  • Ukrainian recruits

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  • © Kin Cheung

The bill was also criticized by Ukrainian political scientists, military experts and former military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Thus, a former participant in hostilities against the Russian Armed Forces, Oleg Simoroz, in a comment to the Ukrainian publication Focus, called the government document a sham.

“I would like to see something new that motivates people to trust the system. But I saw only manipulation and deception,” Simoroz told reporters.

Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmitry Lubinets also drew attention to numerous human rights violations. According to him, the obligation to create an electronic account for a conscript and restricting the departure of people from the country contradict the Constitution and certain laws of Ukraine.

"No prospects"

In a commentary to RT, Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian-Political Studies, explained the negative reaction of Ukrainian deputies and public representatives to the inability to carry out rotation, fatigue from corruption and the repressive policies of the Kyiv regime. However, the political scientist is confident that the voices of critics will not lead to a significant change in the bill.

“Of course, the mobilization law violates the current Ukrainian Constitution and human rights. He is criticized, and we see that protests are taking place demanding that at least those who survived after February 2022 be allowed to go home. However, the Zelensky regime is unlikely to demobilize in the foreseeable future. Moreover, I have no doubt that the law will be adopted with all the strict standards that are spelled out in it,” Bruter said.

The head of the department of political analysis and socio-psychological processes of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Andrei Koshkin, also believes that the resonant document will eventually come into force. In a conversation with RT, he noted that the new standards for military registration and mobilization are fully consistent with the desire of the Kyiv regime to continue the conflict with Russia until human resources are completely depleted.

“At the protests after the adoption of this law in the first reading, the issue of demobilization is raised, although it would be much more appropriate to rally for an end to the suicidal conflict with Russia and the return of all husbands and sons home. Yes, there is now a lot of noise around the repressive provisions of this law, but the root of the problem - and it’s high time for Ukrainians to understand this - is the inhumanity of the Zelensky regime, which is ready to put anyone under arms and in any possible numbers to please the West,” Koshkin emphasized.

Experts recalled that the consideration of the mobilization bill was preceded by Zelensky’s speech on December 19 at a press conference dedicated to the results of the year. Then the head of the Kyiv regime announced the need to additionally mobilize 450-500 thousand people.

The corresponding calculations, as Zelensky explained, were made by the General Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (at that time this position was held by Valery Zaluzhny). The cost of mobilization measures, according to the head of the Kyiv regime, is estimated at UAH 500 billion. In this regard, he asked the government to look for possible sources of funding. 

As Bruter suggested, the Ukrainian leadership is interested in increasing the number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, thus hoping to maintain its offensive potential. This is precisely the goal of the mobilization bill. At the same time, the political scientist doubted that the recruits would be able to properly carry out combat missions.

  • Wounded Ukrainian militants

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  • © Efrem Lukatsky

“Zelensky, in a recent interview with the ARD TV channel, boasted that the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine number 880 thousand people, and hinted that the growth potential has not been exhausted. One of the sources of army replenishment, according to Zelensky, could be men who left Ukraine after the start of the Northern Military District. However, it will be very difficult to attract them from abroad. Moreover, even those men who remained in Ukraine have no motivation to fight,” Bruter said.

Andrei Koshkin has a similar view on the prospects for mobilization in Ukraine. According to the expert, tightening the rules of military registration and conscription will only increase the outflow of young people from the country.

“As the Ukrainians themselves say, the average age of Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers is around 40 years. In this regard, rejuvenation of personnel is required. But no prospects are offered to recruits. By acting in this way, Zelensky is simply fulfilling the task set by the United States - to wage war with Russia, despite the losses and growing discontent of society,” the expert concluded.