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‘I don’t see the need to mobilize half a million people’: Zelensky

20:30, Sunday, 21 January, 2024
‘I don’t see the need to mobilize half a million people’: Zelensky

As Ukraine works on a revised mobilization bill, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he does not see the need to mobilize half a million people for its war effort against Russia.

"Personally, I don't see the need to mobilize half a million people. Not because I want to please someone, but because these are people, life," Zelensky said in an interview with the UK-based Channel 4 News, which was aired on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Ukraine's parliament withdrew a mobilization bill that would supply more troops to the front and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said the bill will be revamped and submitted for approval soon.

The controversial bill, presented to parliament in December, proposed lowering the draft age from 27 to 25, limiting deferrals for men with slight disabilities, and sending out notifications about the necessity to report to the military in electronic form.

Zelensky said they have to calculate and consider the financial aspect of such a decision, adding that the question of mobilization is a "matter of justice," indicating that soldiers on the front line deserve to be replaced.

"There are people who have been at war from day one, and just because they don't complain doesn't mean there shouldn't be an opportunity for others to replace them and take a break," the Ukrainian leader said.

He added that if there is a lack of personnel, it is necessary to provide the military with the tools to tackle this issue, which would also involve mobilization. "Therefore, a law on mobilization needs to be wise and just."

Zelensky went on to comment on reports of "war fatigue," saying that they must distinguish between the physical and mental aspects of the issue.

"We can afford to get tired in the evening, but in the morning, we'll have to continue to defend the state, fight for it, if we want to preserve it," Zelensky said, suggesting that he refers to physical tiredness when it comes to fatigue, and the question of mobilization opens the door for physically tired soldiers to rest.

In an end-of-year press conference last month, the Ukrainian president said the military proposed to mobilize an additional 450,000 to 500,000 people.

Ukraine has been at war with Russian troops since February 2022.

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