Ukraine sending untrained conscripts straight to front lines – media
Ukraine is sending untrained conscripts to their deaths on the frontline even after promising them otherwise, the US outlet Daily Beast has reported, citing interviews with several men who have been avoiding mobilization.
President Vladimir Zelensky announced last month that the military needed another half a million people to make up for losses in the conflict with Russia. His top general, Valery Zaluzhny, has told lawmakers they need to hurry up with a new mobilization law or he would run out of troops to fight with.
”I hear a lot of stories of people who are being taken on the streets and are pushed to the frontline without much training, and I have even heard stories of people being sent without training and being killed after just a few days,” a 31-year-old hiding from recruiters in Western Ukraine – introduced only as ‘Sergei’ – told the Daily Beast. “I will try to avoid that for as long as possible. I want to have a future.”
”I might be able to help the army in some ways, which is not at the frontline, but I cannot trust that they will not bring me directly to the frontline,” he added.
’Alex’ enlisted last year, but was sent home because there were too many volunteers, he told the outlet. The 27-year-old said he would not volunteer again, because he feared being used as “cannon fodder.”
”Some people, who are taken to the army to serve other functions, end up at the frontline after a few months anyway because a commander changes his mind,” he said. There were too many stories on social media of people with disabilities, or minimal training, being sent into battle.
Recruiting agencies are now promising to give volunteers three months of training, but “you cannot trust that,” added ‘Alex’.
According to the Beast, “there aren’t enough volunteers in Ukraine to make up for the constant flow of dead and wounded soldiers, filling the country’s graveyards and hospital beds.” Hopes of a quick victory have faded and “horror stories fill living rooms,” the outlet said.
Yury Kasyanov, an officer in the Ukrainian military, described the situation on the frontline as “awful” and “very bad.” Meanwhile, the army has been drafting skilled workers needed to produce drones and repair military equipment, wasting their potential in “muddy trenches” while 18-year-old students are exempt from the draft, he said.
At least 20,000 Ukrainians have fled the country to avoid conscription, according to official estimates. Many more are in Western Europe and do not intend to return. Most EU countries have refused to send them back, despite repeated demands from Kiev.
Ukrainian lawmakers have been debating proposals to amend the mobilization law, including potentially lowering the draft age to 25, allowing women to serve in combat, and penalizing draft-dodgers with loss of banking services, among other things. The amendments are yet to make it out of committee, however.