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3 Nov, 2023 09:50

Everyone in Ukraine must serve – security chief

Aleksey Danilov’s statement comes as Moscow estimates Kiev’s losses in botched counteroffensive at more than 90,000 soldiers
Everyone in Ukraine must serve – security chief

No Ukrainian citizen should be exempt from serving their country and helping it in the conflict with Russia, Aleksey Danilov, Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, has insisted.

In an interview with media outlet Liga on Thursday, Danilov described the idea that every Ukrainian “has to fight a war or perform a service” as a “fundamental truth.” “One should not be surprised. We live in a rather complicated world where we have to defend our country with a crazy neighbor nearby,” he added.

He also addressed a recent article in the Telegraph by former UK defense minister Ben Wallace, who pointed out that “the average age of the [Ukrainian] soldiers at the front is over 40” and suggested that Kiev should reassess the scale of its mobilization by drafting more youth.

“As for the age bracket, the notion that the war is fought only in trenches .. is a thing of the past,” Danilov said, adding that many modern military systems can engage in combat while being stationed in the rear. He also described the idea that everyone in the Ukrainian military should be young as “somewhat distorted.”

Pressed on whether Kiev plans to demobilize any part of its army, particularly those soldiers who have been fighting for many months, the official wouldn’t say whether the country’s top officials had even discussed the issue. He added, however, that, if a decision is made, it should be in the form of a law.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of hostilities with Russia, barring most men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country. The campaign, however, has been marred by rampant corruption, with the Ukrainian leader sacking all regional senior conscription officials in August.

Around the same time, Zelensky also said that the Ukrainian military wanted him to step up mobilization efforts, although he has yet to sign a law lowering the conscription threshold during the mobilization from 27 to 25.

Last month, Sergey Rakhmanin, a member of Ukraine’s parliamentary military committee, predicted that Kiev would likely try to draft more people to replenish losses amid its counteroffensive.

Kiev launched a major push against Russian lines in early June but has since struggled to make any substantial progress. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday that Ukraine “is losing” adding that its troops are suffering from plummeting morale amid high casualty rates. Last month, he claimed that Kiev had lost more than 90,000 service members since the start of the offensive.