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5 Dec, 2023 20:36

Zelensky party MP tells Ukrainian women to go to the front lines

The appeal comes as Kiev ponders tightening mobilization methods
Zelensky party MP tells Ukrainian women to go to the front lines

All Ukrainians, including women, who wish to help the country should enlist in the military, lawmaker Mariana Bezuglaya from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling ‘Servant of the People’ party said on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post marking International Volunteer Day, Bezuglaya thanked everyone who had already signed up to the military, but demanded more enlistment in 2024. 

“The duty of the state is to provide everything that’s needed; the duty of the citizens is to pay taxes for it. The best volunteering today is to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” she wrote.

“The people are the state; as the people, so the state,” she added.

Less than an hour later, responding to a torrent of comments, Bezuglaya doubled down. 

“Dear mobilized servicemen, do you want new people to come to your unit? To strengthen you? To give you a rest?” she wrote. “That’s why I said the best volunteering for 2024 is to join the AFU. This also applies to women.”

Ukrainians expect their government to announce a new plan of mobilization in the coming months. Zelensky promised a “comprehensive proposal” in late November. Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, hinted at the possibility of some mobilized troops being discharged and Kiev working with private companies to recruit specialists for roles fit for their skills, and not just “meat” for the front lines.

According to Russian intelligence, Ukraine’s backers in the West have demanded expanding the draft to teenagers, older men, and women as well. 

Bezuglaya noted on Facebook that she had undergone military training herself in 2015. At the time, the government in Kiev was waging its “anti-terrorist operation” against residents of two Donbass republics, who had rejected the results of the 2014 US-backed coup.

The 35-year-old was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in 2019, on the list of the newly formed party named after the TV show in which Zelensky – a comedy actor before going into politics – starred as the president of Ukraine. Her district of Kiev was previously represented by neo-Nazi activist and ‘Azov’ founder Andrey Biletsky.

Bezuglaya is currently the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, and is best known for proposing a bill in May 2022 that would have allowed Ukrainian officers to execute soldiers for insubordination without a trial.