Ex-Ukrainian PM warns Zelensky about ‘repressive’ draft
A reworked draft mobilization bill presented to Ukrainian MPs on Tuesday is more “repressive” and “unconstitutional” than the original, Yulia Timoshenko, the leader of ‘Fatherland’ party in parliament, has claimed. The politician, who served as Ukraine’s prime minister between 2007 and 2010, also warned that if passed, the legislation could spark social strife.
In December, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the military leadership had proposed mobilizing up to 500,000 more troops. Later that month, the government submitted a bill tightening conscription rules. On January 11, the cabinet recalled the legislation for amendment, and reintroduced it for consideration at the end of the month.
In a video posted on her Facebook account on Saturday, Timoshenko said the latest iteration of the “tough and cynical” legislation could “bring about a tragic rift between the government and the people,” and “could even lead to public confrontation.” She called for the mobilization of police and security personnel, adding that she was determined to drum up support among other parliamentary factions’ leaders to stop the bill in its current form.
On Thursday, the former prime minister characterized the revised legislation as a “catastrophe,” and accused the government of “shamelessly cheating parliament” by resubmitting “draconian norms” that had already been rejected by lawmakers.
“The adoption of such a law will be a crime against the Ukrainian state and show contempt for its citizens,” Timoshenko wrote in a Facebook post. She vowed to “unite society in the struggle against this outrageous draft bill.”
According to Ukrainian media, the revised version of the legislation envisages the curtailment of draft dodgers’ rights and the freezing of their bank accounts. Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 would reportedly only be provided with consular services abroad if they presented their military status documents.
On top of that, police inside Ukraine would supposedly be given the right to detain draft dodgers and deliver them to military recruitment centers.
Ukraine’s top commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, has repeatedly insisted in recent weeks that the armed forces are critically understaffed, with losses this year projected to be on a par with those incurred in 2023.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s estimates, Kiev has lost more than 383,000 service members killed, wounded, and missing since the conflict began in February 2022. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed last month that nearly half of those casualties had been sustained during Ukraine’s failed summer counteroffensive last year.