HomeTop StoriesUkrainian lawmakers just took a step to allow the country to mobilize...

Ukrainian lawmakers just took a step to allow the country to mobilize convicts to fight Russia

  • Ukrainian lawmakers are pushing for a bill to allow prisoners to serve in the military.

  • The bill aims to increase combat manpower while excluding people imprisoned for certain serious crimes.

  • The move comes amid Ukraine’s struggle with soldier shortages against Russia’s larger military.

Ukrainian lawmakers are proposing a bill that would allow prisoners to serve in the Ukrainian army and fight on the front lines against Russia.

The first draft of the bill, which was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday, calls for the release of prisoners for contracted military service during a period of martial law and mobilization, Army Inform reported.

This bill was approved in its first reading with the support of 281 officials in the hope of strengthening recruitment and giving people in prison the opportunity to “correct and fulfill the duty of repelling armed aggression against Ukraine.”

However, not every prisoner is qualified to mobilize.

Those in prison must undergo a mental health assessment and medical examination. They cannot participate if they have been convicted of crimes such as terrorism, the murder of two or more people, sexual assault, drunken driving with vehicular homicide or national security crimes.

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A Ukrainian soldier from the Khartia Brigade fires an AK-47 pellet rifle from a trench during training as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on February 7, 2024.

A Ukrainian soldier from the Khartia Brigade fires an AK-47 pellet rifle from a trench during training as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on February 7, 2024.Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu via Getty Images

“These changes make the state more stable and the army stronger in the confrontation with the enemy,” Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said in February. The bill has undergone numerous revisions since it was first introduced in December, and more are expected.

Lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak told Reuters that additional changes to prevent corruption would likely take place before the final reading.

The Ukrainian army is facing a dangerous shortage of available soldiers on the battlefield. It has struggled to maintain a strong position against the much larger Russian military as more soldiers are wounded and killed while fewer potential replacements enter the recruitment pipeline. The Ukrainian parliament took several steps this week to address this.

Lawmakers have passed measures simplifying conscription ahead of a possible mobilization, and demobilization plans that would have allowed soldiers to return home after long deployments were cut by Ukraine’s parliament this week.

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“This is demotivating and demoralizing for the army,” an artillery soldier told CNN.

In addition to significant advantages in manpower, Russia also has an advantage in industrial capacity and war equipment. U.S. diplomatic and military officials have said Russia has almost “completely reconstituted” its forces and “regrown” its capabilities almost to what it started the invasion with, even after suffering serious losses.

Ukraine is now not only waiting for crucial aid from the US, but also waiting for more recruits as a bill allowing people in prison to join the military moves through parliament.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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