Ukraine Tightens Rules on Military Service, Angering Soldiers

by | Apr 14, 2024

Ukraine Tightens Rules on Military Service, Angering Soldiers

by | Apr 14, 2024

FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (Credit: Ukraine Armed Forces General Staff)

Ukraine’s legislature advanced multiple new laws that tighten rules on conscription and extend military services for those already in uniform. The new rules angered some Ukrainian soldiers. 

On Thursday, the Ukrainian Rada passed a bill that tightened the requirement to register with conscription offices and increased punishment for those who fail to do so. Additionally, Ukrainian lawmakers removed a provision in the bill that would have granted relief to soldiers who have been in combat for 36 months.  

The law requires Ukrainians at home and abroad to give updated information to conscription offices to receive government-issued driver’s licenses and to have documents processed. “The law will change the procedure for listing people in the military register, as well as the rules for conscription,” Pavlo Frolov, a lawmaker in President Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, said. “It will limit the possibilities of evading military service.”

To the surprise and dismay of Ukrainian soldiers, on Tuesday, the Rada stripped a provision in the law that would have ensured soldiers in combat for 36 months were rotated out. One Ukrainian woman said her husband, who is a soldier, was enraged by the law. The wife of a second soldier said, “You don’t have to be at war until you die, you need to know when your service ends.”

Ukrainian soldiers said the move would lower morale. “This is demotivating and demoralizing for the military,” one artillery soldier told CNN.

One Ukrainian lawmaker said the provision was removed because it was logistically impossible to implement. Kiev is facing a severe shortage of trained soldiers. A second member of the Rada, Oleksandra Ustinova, who chairs the country’s wartime oversight commission on monitoring aid, said, “We are in a very weak position right now.” Last year, Kiev was preparing for an offensive, now, its troops are desperately trying to form defensive lines to hold the Russian offensive. 

 Iryna Herashchenko, a legislator in the opposition European Solidarity Party, blasted the ruling party over the removal of the provision.  “The right to be discharged is an important incentive,” she posted on Telegram. “The Servants of the People and their satellites have spat in the face of the military and their families.”

The law also includes incentives for recruits and soldiers. Those who enlist will have some discretion over their assignment. Additionally, soldiers who capture or destroy Russian weapons will be given financial incentives. 

The Rada advanced another law last week that will allow prisoners to volunteer to fight in the military to get out of jail. The new conscription laws follow Zelensky’s signing of a bill that reduced the conscription age from 27 to 25 earlier this month.

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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