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22 Dec, 2023 08:13

All Ukrainians must fight – security chief

The era when some could turn a blind eye to the conflict is over, Aleksey Danilov has said, as the country struggles to find fresh recruits
All Ukrainians must fight – security chief

Every Ukrainian citizen, and not only the members of the military, must serve their country during its conflict with Russia, Aleksey Danilov, the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, has said.

In an interview with local media on Thursday, the security chief signaled that the era when some Ukrainians could turn a blind eye to the fighting was over. “This kind of calm, when… it was believed that the war was purely a matter for the military, and the rest of the country could live its own life... has passed, it must end, it doesn’t work that way,” he insisted.

“Everyone should take part in this war, and not selectively: while someone is fighting, others are throwing chips in the casino. This is not fair,” the official said.

At the same time, Danilov noted that Kiev’s planned mobilization drive would not last only one day or one month, but that the whole process could take at least a year.

His comments come after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky revealed earlier this week that the military had proposed calling up an additional 450-500 thousand people, and that the government wanted to allocate an additional 500 billion hryvnias ($13.3 billion) to the effort. He also stressed that Ukrainian authorities must prioritize “justice” when replenishing the military’s ranks.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said all Ukrainian men who had left the country since start of the conflict would be invited to report to recruitment centers, warning that those who fail to comply could face sanctions. However, Kirill Budanov, the chief of Ukrainian intelligence, said last week that forcing people without motivation into service would not make the army stronger.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, barring most men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country. The campaign, however, has been marred by widespread draft dodging and corruption.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly signaled plans to recruit more soldiers amid Kiev’s faltering counteroffensive which has been underway since early summer but failed to gain any substantial ground. Moscow has described Ukraine’s losses during the push as catastrophic, estimating them at about 160,000 casualties.