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23 Dec, 2023 18:38

Ukraine to see ‘total mobilization’ in 2024 – officer

Next year will be worse for the country than 2022 and 2023 combined, an air defense commander has said
Ukraine to see ‘total mobilization’ in 2024 – officer

Ukraine is likely to resort to “total mobilization” next year in a bid to contain Russia, Ukrainian officer Vasily Samovar, who commands the aviation and air defense forces of the 3rd Separate Storm Brigade, told a local Dnipro TV channel on Saturday.

He reportedly admitted that Russia is superior in many aspects, ranging from economic might to personnel reserves.

Kiev is still reeling from the failed summer counteroffensive that has failed to bring about any major changes to the front lines while costing tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment. In December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that Ukraine had lost over 383,000 soldiers since the start of the conflict, adding that roughly half of the casualties were sustained during its much-hyped summer operation.

Ukraine’s Western backers have also seemingly begun to doubt Kiev’s prospects of winning the conflict in the wake of the failed offensive. In December, US lawmakers said that neither Washington nor Kiev had presented a clear winning strategy following a meeting with Zelensky. Both Washington and Brussels are also struggling to agree on the next aid packages for Ukraine.

In his interview with the Dnipro station, Samovar said that “the Ukrainians should prepare for total mobilization and a cold winter.” The next year “will unfortunately be much harder than 2023 and 2022 combined,” he added.

The officer explained that Russia is actively building up its forces and adapting its economy to the needs of its military. If Moscow keeps up like this, it might prevail at some point, Samovar admitted, adding that Ukraine has neither such a “massive mobilization potential nor that much money and resources.”

In December, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the nation’s military had proposed calling up an additional 450,000-500,000 people, and that the government wanted to allocate an additional 500 billion hryvnia ($13.3 billion) to the effort.

Earlier, the nation’s defense minister, Rustem Umerov, told Germany’s Bild tabloid that all Ukrainian men of military age living abroad were to be summoned to recruitment centers. The Defense Ministry then rushed to deny such plans.

On Friday, it was reported that lawmakers in Kiev were actively working on a bill that would allow Ukrainians living abroad to be drafted. According to Vadim Ivchenko, an MP and member of the parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, the bill will be introduced in January.

Zelensky’s administration also supported the measure. A senior presidential aide, Mikhail Podoliak, told Ukraine’s Channel 24 on Friday that Ukrainian men should return home to fight and that a set of punitive measures should be introduced if they don’t up to having their residency permits revoked in their current countries of stay.

Estonia then expressed its readiness to extradite Ukrainians of military age at Kiev’s request. Germany, meanwhile, has said it would not send anyone back against their will.