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Ukraine Passes Contested Draft Bill with No Limits on Wartime Military Service

HeadlineApr 12, 2024

Ukraine passed a bill overhauling the military draft as a general warned lawmakers Russian forces outnumbered Ukrainian troops tenfold in the east. The new measures seek to increase troops by requiring eligible men to update their draft data with authorities, increasing compensation for volunteers and allowing some people with convictions to serve. It also does not set an upper limit for wartime military service. Lawmakers, however, were forced to remove some of the harshest draft dodging penalties after public backlash. Family members of deployed soldiers protested the bill near the parliament in Kyiv Thursday.

Kateryna Kulibaba: “Our boys and girls in the service are very tired. They have been fighting for two years, and no one is planning to replace them. For rotation to happen, newcomers have to know how much time they’ll have to spend at the frontline. Undefined mobilization terms mean fighting forever. Without strictly defined terms, no one will join the army.”

The measure comes over two years into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as Russian forces step up their attacks. Russia launched over 40 missiles and 40 drones at Ukrainian energy sources and critical infrastructure overnight Thursday, destroying at least one large electricity plant.

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