Ukraine’s Latest Conscription Law Stretches Workforce

by | May 19, 2024

Ukraine’s Latest Conscription Law Stretches Workforce

by | May 19, 2024

3rd id conducts live fire exercise with ukrainian soldiers

YAVORIV, Ukraine-- A Ukrainian Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 80th Airmobile Brigade clear a trench during a live-fire training exercise, Nov. 12, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center. Soldiers assigned to 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division is deployed in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. JMTG-U is focused on direct training of Ukrainian ground forces in the near term while helping to build an enduring and sustainable training capacity for the future. (Army photo by Sgt. Jacob Holmes)

Ukraine’s newest conscription law went into effect on Saturday, raising concerns that the country will be unable to fill critical industrial jobs. The law increases the number of men who can be conscripted and requires all males to take additional registration steps. 

The operator of a steel plant in Kryvyi Rih explained there were growing staffing concerns over the new conscription law, and the company had already cut back on production. “If they continue to mobilize, we will not have enough [staff] to operate,” Mauro Longobardo, the plant’s chief executive, told the Financial Times. “We are talking here about the existence of the company.”

Under Ukrainian law, men have to register at the mobilization office to take a job at the plant. Members of the Ukrainian military have also come to the plant in an effort to catch men to send to the front. Over the past two years, Kiev has drafted 3,500 of the plant’s 18,000 employees. 

Many of those sent to the front have been killed. The editor of the plant’s weekly newsletter said they write an obituary every week. One of the plant’s employees that was drafted complained he often lacked small arms ammunition. 

The owner of a car repair shop in Kiev is also concerned he will be put out of business by the mobilization expansion, and that most of his employees have already been conscripted. “With the new law, people will be mobilized and we will have to shut down and stop paying taxes,” he said, adding the new law was “unclear” and “unfair.” 

President Zelensky signed a new conscription bill into law last month that lowered the draft age to 25 and required men to provide more information to mobilization officers. On Friday, Zelensky signed a bill that allows prisoners to join the military and increases the fines of those avoiding military service. As Russian forces advance, Ukraine struggles to recruit enough men to fight. 

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

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

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