icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
15 May, 2024 12:51

Blinken tells Ukrainians to embrace conscription

Mobilization is a necessary step toward future NATO membership, the top US diplomat has claimed
Blinken tells Ukrainians to embrace conscription

Ukrainians must accept more mobilization as a necessary step toward the country’s eventual NATO membership, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a speech in Kiev on Tuesday.

Speaking to students at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, the top US diplomat noted that Ukrainians are relying on his country for continued support, but insisted that they must see the importance of the military draft for the fight against Russia.

“Your recent mobilization was a difficult decision, but a necessary one. The defenders who have so courageously held the line for more than two years need help. They need rest,” Blinken said.

Joining the military will “allow you to harden your defenses, to build more units, to take the fight to Russian aggressors,” he added.

Blinken mentioned members of the university’s community who have enrolled as volunteers, and of whom 88 have been killed in the ongoing conflict, according to the diplomat.

Kiev has recently adopted a radical military reform which is set to enter force this month. It introduces harsh punishments for draft avoidance in an attempt to achieve higher mobilization rates.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied consular services for citizens living abroad in a bid to force Ukrainian men of fighting age to return home and take up arms.

Russia has estimated Ukrainian military losses this year alone at over 111,000, as of early May.

During his visit to Ukraine, Blinken also claimed that the US goal is to ensure the country’s future as a “free, prosperous, secure democracy fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.”

“We are bringing Ukraine closer to, and then into NATO. We’ll make sure that Ukraine’s bridge to NATO is strong and well-lit,” he promised, predicting “tangible” progress along that path later this year.

The US and its allies claim they are pouring assistance into Ukraine to stop Russian imperial ambitions.

Moscow, however, perceives the conflict as a US-initiated proxy war against Russia. The increased NATO presence in Ukraine was a major cause for Russian military action, according to its leadership.

In 2021, Russia urged the US-led military bloc to sign a binding agreement that would have addressed Moscow’s concerns over NATO’s expansion in Europe, but the call was rejected.

In 2022, Moscow sought to sign a peace treaty with Kiev, which would have ensured its status as a neutral nation. The deal was allegedly derailed by the West, in what Russian officials have said was clear evidence that Kiev lacks sovereignty and that the US and its allies have hostile intentions.