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18 Dec, 2023 23:19

Ukraine could conscript women – MP

Kiev has struggled to mobilize enough men to send to the front
Ukraine could conscript women – MP

The Ukrainian government should consider the possibility of drafting women if that is deemed necessary in the conflict with Russia, Member of Parliament Inna Sovsun said on Monday.

Sovsun is one of the 20 members of Golos in the Verkhovna Rada. The self-styled liberal and pro-EU party is best known for proposing the legalization of same-sex civil unions, as well as pornography, which was banned in 2009 under then-president Victor Yushchenko.

“There will be unpopular decisions,” she told the Ukrainian media on Monday. “I do not deny that we can reach the point of mobilizing women. If it’s needed for defense, then it’s needed for defense. If there is a rationale, a tool and mechanisms, we must discuss [them].”

Among the issues that needed resolving, Sovsun listed the range of duties for conscripted women, provision of uniforms, travel restrictions and the status of mothers with small children.

There must be a statement – friends, we are either losing the war, or we need to make a difficult decision about the mobilization of women.

Sovsun’s comments come after a lawmaker from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party proposed mobilizing women to work in the defense sector.

Women “can be called up for military service or recruited to perform work to ensure the defense of the state in wartime,” according to a proposal submitted by Mariana Bezuglaya. Her draft bill would allow for women to serve in the military as well, whether as conscripts in support roles or as volunteers in frontline units.

Ukraine has carried out multiple waves of mobilization since 2014, and has been taking heavy casualties since hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022. Zelensky fired the heads of all regional draft offices in August, citing widespread corruption that allowed many men to buy fraudulent medical exemptions. Tens of thousands of draft-dodgers have either left the country or gone into hiding from the roving press-gangs of recruiters, according to Western media outlets.

Last month, Zelensky promised a “comprehensive proposal” to reform the conscription system, which has yet to be announced. According to Russian intelligence, Ukraine’s backers in the West have demanded expanding the draft to include teenagers, older men – and women.