Ukraine on the verge: Discussions heat up over conscription amid looming threat of Russian strength
Now approaching the third year of full-scale warfare, Ukraine is dominated by heated discussions - particularly about the conscription of civilians. In Kyiv, plans for mobilization are already in the works.
One of the biggest internal battles Ukrainians must face is striking a balance between protecting their nation's independence from external threats and the grim reality of having to deploy hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Regional capitals, small villages, the eastern frontlines, the media, workplaces, families - everywhere, there's an urgent call for Ukraine to mobilize hundreds of thousands more people to persist in their fight against Russia, as emphasized by "The Kyiv Independent".
In December, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that mobilizing on such a grand scale is a "delicate" issue, with the decision still pending. However, in a press conference, Zelensky acknowledged that the military has sought to mobilise nearly 500,000 soldiers.
The challenge remains that Ukrainian civilians are reluctant to join the army to combat against Russia. Remember that following Russia's invasion, most men aged between 18-60 were banned from leaving the country.
Investigations by the BBC regarding data on illegal border crossing with neighbouring Romania, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia reveal that between February 2022 and August 31, 2023, 19,740 men crossed into these countries illegally.
Civilian training in Ukraine
Despite these challenges, a balanced group of women and men participate in a civilian training course run by the Ukrainian Volunteer Army. The course aims to equip civilians with basic skills related to using weapons, unit-level exercises, and tactical medicine.
It's worth mentioning that these courses are not primarily organized as a recruitment tool, and so far, after participating, only one individual has chosen to join the unit.
"Initially, everyone was eager to fight, and we didn't have enough weapons. But now, it's apparent that the early fervor has waned," declares one Ukrainian in an interview with the newspaper.
Thus far, both Russia and Ukraine's military forces are comprised mainly of drafted soldiers, which is necessary given the scale of one of the most savage conflicts since World War II.
The newly drafted soldiers are responsible for replenishing units that have incurred losses during brutal battles and creating new reserves for potential future offensives or rotation of units exhausted from long stints at the front line.
Current discussions revolve around the contract duration for Ukraine's soldiers, although no definitive decisions have been made yet.