Ukraine, looking for soldiers, lifts the draft limit

At war to the death. Ukraine eliminates the time limit for military service, sparking discontent among tired and angry troops. This is the effect of the new law on mobilization approved last Thursday after months of debate and almost 4,300 amendments. Until last week, after 36 months of service, they were discharged, while now, with the negative situation that the Russian advance on the Eastern Front is seeing, the troops realize that their service can only end due to disability or death. The law was passed with 283 votes in favor in the 450-member parliament, mainly because Zelensky's “Servant of the People” party supported it by introducing increased pay for front-line service and some benefits in case of death for families.

Russian troops are, in number, at least seven times those of Ukraine; therefore, this measure risks becoming a boomerang for Kiev, nullifying motivation and crushing the already low morale of the soldiers. Realizing the reactions of soldiers and officers, a few hours after the adoption of the law the Ukrainian parliament instructed the government to develop a further bill on the demobilization and rotation of front-line soldiers, also because the provision of abolition of service limits has predictably infuriated experienced soldiers, especially those who began their service in 2014, when Moscow supported pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine by helping them create two breakaway “People's Republics.”

From February 2022 to today, the recruitment situation has changed radically: in the aftermath of the Russian attack, within a few hours the volunteers had crowded the recruitment offices, but the general enthusiasm waned after the news regarding the serious losses and the horrible conditions of survival in the trenches and military barracks, where numerous episodes of corruption are reported. It is no coincidence that a new law now requires the creation of an electronic register in place of the obsolete paper list of names, which in the last two years has been the subject of investigations by the police leading to the arrest of dozens of transcription workers, who would have enriched themselves with undue transactions and even purchased properties outside the country, so as not to risk them being destroyed by the war.

Now every man of fighting age (from 25 years old) will have 60 days to register in person or via the electronic registry, and anyone who does not do so will be considered draft dodgers. Patriotism aside, the minimum pay for Ukrainian soldiers on the front is around 800 euros, the average for those fighting around 1,700, with variations depending on the position on the front and the region. In addition to equipment and ammunition, among the troops' requests to senior officers there is above all better physical and technical training, a need that emerged already in the first year of fighting.