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6 Oct, 2023 08:43

Ex-Zelensky aide backs call to conscript youth

Young men make great soldiers thanks to better health and less life experience, Aleksey Arestovich has claimed
Ex-Zelensky aide backs call to conscript youth

Older men have neither the physical condition nor the malleability of psyche to become good foot soldiers, so conscripting the young instead is a sound strategy, a former senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said.

In an interview on Tuesday, Aleksey Arestovich, who is a popular commentator for the Ukrainian online media, endorsed recommendations made by former British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who last week urged Kiev to draft the youth to fight Russia.

“The average health level of a Ukrainian foot soldier, who is well over 45 years old and is close to 50, is not sufficient for the typical battlefield exertions,” the former presidential advisor stated.

Russia’s dominance in surveillance and artillery means that only small squads operating on foot have a chance to gain territory, and such assault teams by necessity need to be universally in good physical shape, Arestovich explained.

Older people also cannot be manipulated into performing the boot camp drills that turn civilians into troops, he added. Younger people can be goaded by stoking their ego and challenging them into “pissing contests” with each other.

“What is needed are wolves, who are 25 to 28, who want to fight and enjoy that, who still have things to prove,” Arestovich claimed.

Arestovich remarked that at this point even units that used to be predominantly composed of volunteers, such as the nationalists’ favored Azov battalion, have few people who asked to go to the fighting, with many of the soldiers having been mobilized.

The ex-official previously predicted that every Ukrainian man would have to go to the frontline eventually. The 48-year-old has no military service-age sons and reportedly currently resides in the US.

Last month, the Ukrainian authorities relaxed eligibility criteria for draftees to allow for people with certain physical and mental conditions. Videos circulating online have shown conscription officials hunting down able-bodied men to fulfill mobilization plans.

Wallace, who resigned his position in the UK government in August, wrote an opinion piece in The Telegraph last Sunday. He urged Zelensky to review the scale of mobilization and a purported “desire to preserve the young for the future” so that the army could “finish the job.”

Moscow has accused the US and its allies of using Ukrainians as “cannon fodder” in a proxy war against Russia. President Vladimir Putin estimated on Thursday that Kiev had lost over 90,000 people since June, when it began a much-heralded counteroffensive.