The war in Ukraine: – Desperate search for new soldiers

The war in Ukraine: – Desperate search for new soldiers

According to a recent report, Ukraine is starting to have problems recruiting new soldiers for the war.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) announced on Wednesday that it had blocked 26 Telegram channels that allegedly posted various recipes on how to avoid mobilization.

More aggressive filling

According to the news magazine The Economist Ukraine is struggling to recruit new soldiers and mobilization has become more aggressive in the past two months. The authorities reportedly tried to recruit new soldiers for military funerals, and there were reports of officials patrolling ski resorts to find men who tried to avoid being drafted into the armed forces.

It fires 26,000 shells every day

Ukrainian Ruslan Kobe was very surprised when he received a call-up to the army at the end of January. He lost both hands and was registered as severely disabled since childhood, which put him on the list of automatic exemptions from service.

Even more surprising, however, was the reaction of officials at the local registry office in Drobobych, a town outside Lviv. They declared him fit for duty, and it was only a social media post that led to someone higher up in the system putting an end to the summons.

Ukraine: The Russians are preparing for a new mobilization: – It raises a big dilemma, says expert Arne Bord-Dalhough. Program Leader: Edward Stenlund
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Naturally, recruiting new soldiers becomes more difficult as the war continues. says Tormod Heyer, Professor of Military Strategy and Operations at the Norwegian Armed Forces College (FHS).

Another reason he points to is that Ukraine is now planning an offensive that could start in the spring or summer, which would require more soldiers on the ground in Ukraine.

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Understandable campaign

– Then the need for more soldiers will increase significantly. It is more urgent to attack than to be on the defensive, and then your loss numbers will increase exponentially. Based on this operational need, it is understandable that the Ukrainian authorities are placing more emphasis on recruitment, Heyer says.

The story of Ruslan Kobe’s case was one of the most extreme, but far from an isolated incident. It is clear that Ukraine has intensified mobilization activities in the first two months of this year.

– The Ukrainian authorities are good at keeping their papers close at hand, and have sometimes been rather conservative with casualty figures regarding their soldiers and the conditions under which they fought. This could weaken morale and the will to defend, Heyer says, especially among skeptics and those apprehensive about participating in the war.

It is believed that more people can access information through social media that is not under the control of the authorities, which can give a more accurate picture of reality.

– It seems here that the conditions are sometimes more brutal, and the casualties may be greater than what is publicly known. It may sound intimidating to those already restless, who don’t want to end up in what soldiers themselves call a “meat grinder,” Heyer says.

Honoring the dead: Family and friends honor dead Ukrainian soldiers during a ceremony at Freedom Square in Kiev.  Photo: AFP/NTB.

Honoring the dead: Family and friends honor dead Ukrainian soldiers during a ceremony at Freedom Square in Kiev. Photo: AFP/NTB.
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– The longer this war drags on, the more important it is for the authorities of both countries to recruit new soldiers to the front. Many of the most important forces on the Russian side are exhausted and destroyed, and so the Russians are forced to send in forces without the necessary support from armored divisions, aircraft, or artillery. It is a brutal tactic that itself costs many soldiers their lives, says Tormod Heyer.

He believes that the Russian authorities have no other choice because the best units have been defeated by a large margin, and that there is no time to train new mechanized combat units with high combat value.

Risks of long prison terms

After the Telegram channels were closed, the SBU stated that many of these channels identified officers who carried out recruitment campaigns, so that young people could avoid these people to prevent them from being drafted into the army.

The security service also said that managers of Telegram channels are suspected of participating in criminal activity, and that they risk up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The high number of casualties during the fighting in places like Bakhmut has been cited as one of the reasons why the Ukrainian army is now looking for more soldiers. Another reason cited is that the Ukrainian army needs more soldiers to operate the new weapons that are now coming from the Western allies.

Putin's strategic dilemma

Putin’s strategic dilemma

There are some exceptions to the exemption from military service. If you are disabled or have a reduced functional ability, you will be released from service. The same applies to single parents, single parents with more than three children and a number of professions that hold important positions for society.

Fake marriages

Ukrainians who did not want to participate in the war are said to have entered into fake marriages, paid a few thousand dollars to doctors for fake medical exemptions or fled the country.

Like the Russian government, the Ukrainian government has become desperate to find additional manpower in this protracted conflict, said Mark Katz, a professor at George Mason University’s Char School of Politics and Government. Newsweek.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparatus has also struggled to fill the ranks since the country went to war with Ukraine more than a year ago.

After Putin initially denied using conscripts in the war, the Defense Ministry admitted last March to sending some conscripts to the front lines.

In September, Russia called up 300,000 former soldiers in its first mobilization since World War II. As a result, more than 370,000 Russians fled the country in the two weeks following Putin’s mobilization decree.

a line: After Russian President Vladimir Putin declared “partial mobilization” in the war against Ukraine, many Russians chose to leave the country. Video: Reuters
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According to British intelligence, most of the Russian soldiers are recruits from eastern Russia, mainly from the country’s minorities.

In many eastern regions, deaths were thirty times higher than in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In some places, ethnic minorities bear the brunt. In the city of Astrakhan, about 75 percent of all victims are Cossacks and Tatars.

Authoritarian leaders usually do not root their policies in broad segments of the population. When casualties in wars that have not been imposed on them increase, leaders thus become vulnerable to discontent among the population. Thus, the risk of social unrest is lower if recruitment takes place outside urban areas, where the liberal and critical views of the authorities do not have a good foothold, says Tormod Heyer.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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