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14 Apr, 2024 15:06

Zelensky to sign new mobilization bill this month – senior MP

The Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of the legislation on Thursday
Zelensky to sign new mobilization bill this month – senior MP

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is likely to sign a bill to tighten the mobilization rules by the end of the month, the deputy speaker of parliament, Aleksandr Kornyenko, has said.

Speaking on national TV on Sunday, Kornyenko said Zelensky could sign the new mobilization law within just a couple of weeks.

He noted that so far, no one has introduced legislation in the parliament to block the measure, calling it “a good sign,” adding: “I think that starting Monday the speaker will be able to sign it and submit his presidential signature. The president will have two weeks, and I think he won’t drag it out for long.”

According to the deputy speaker, in the best-case scenario, some clauses will come into force immediately, others in a month’s time. 

Kornyenko noted that before Zelensky can sign the bill into law, it must be reviewed by his office to see whether it is constitutional.  

The Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of the mobilization bill on Thursday. The new legislation, which comes amid Kiev’s push to replenish battlefield losses, simplifies procedures for the draft and forces all men aged 18 to 60 – including those living abroad – to register with the military authorities. It also stiffens the punishment for draft dodging, while requiring those deemed fit for limited service to undergo a medical examination within 12 months.

In a last-minute turn of events, the bill was stripped of a provision enabling men who had served for three years to be demobilized, effectively meaning that many troops would have to remain in the army indefinitely. Aleksandr Syrsky, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, reportedly lobbied for the change.

Earlier this month, Zelensky also signed a highly controversial law lowering the age of conscription for men from 27 to 25. 

This came after numerous Ukrainian officials said Kiev needed another 500,000 troops to replenish battlefield losses, although some of them later insisted that the figure would ultimately be lower. 

In late February, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Ukraine had suffered more than 444,000 losses since the conflict began in February 2022. Earlier this month, he said Kiev lost more than 80,000 troops this year alone.

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