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26 Nov, 2023 22:20

Ukrainian military leadership has no plan for 2024 – senior MP

Kiev wants to draft tens of thousands every month without a clear strategy, Mariana Bezuglaya says
Ukrainian military leadership has no plan for 2024 – senior MP

Ukraine's military leadership has no strategic plan for the year ahead in its ongoing conflict with Russia, Mariana Bezuglaya, the deputy head of the country's parliament’s security, defense and intelligence committee, admitted on Sunday. The top brass want to mobilize tens of thousands of people every month, but has no clear understanding of what should be done with them, she added.

“The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been unable to provide a [strategic] plan for 2024,” Bezuglaya wrote in a post on her Facebook page, referring to Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny. The general has absolutely no concept of further conflict, she claimed, adding that he has no plan for any type of warfare, “either large or small… asymmetrical or symmetrical.”

The position of military leadership representes a major issue for the lawmakers planning the nation’s budget for the next year, the senior MP said. Problems had been growing both in parliament and at the military leadership’s HQ, at least since the summer, Bezuglaya revealed.

At that time, the Ukrainian military was in the midst of its much-touted counteroffensive launched in early June. The operation was largely unsuccessful. Kiev’s troops did not gain any major territories but suffered heavy losses of personnel and equipment, including dozens of pieces of Western-supplied hardware.

According to Bezuglaya, Zaluzhny and other top commanders have so far failed to present any detailed plans for future training, troop rotation, or for the funding needed for new brigades.

Instead, the Ukrainian military “simply said they would need to draft no less than 20,000 citizens every month,” the senior MP added.

“If the military leadership cannot provide any plan for 2024 and all their proposals for mobilization boil down to the fact that more people are needed without any … changes to the Armed Forces system, then this [military] leadership has to go,” Bezuglaya, who is a member of President Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party, said.

The presidential party’s faction in parliament refused to provide any comments on Bezuglaya’s words when approached by the Ukrainian ‘Pravda’ newspaper.

In early November, Zaluzhny admitted in an interview with The Economist that the situation on the frontlines was essentially a World War I-style stalemate. He also said that Russia had an upper hand in that sort of warfare due to its superior personnel reserves and vast material resources. This assessment was later rejected by Zelensky.

The president also warned the nation’s military leadership to stay out of politics or risk harming “the unity of the nation.”

Earlier this week, Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR) reported that Ukraine’s Western backers have encouraged Kiev to expand draft efforts and enlist the elderly, teenagers, and women into the army. The new draft is supposedly needed to replace the heavy losses Kiev’s troops suffered in the largely unsuccessful summer counteroffensive.