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Ukraine Calls Upon Expatriate Men for Military Service Amid Escalating Conflict

President Zelensky disclosed on Tuesday that Ukraine urgently requires between 450,000 to 500,000 new soldiers.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov has announced that Ukrainian men aged 25 to 60, residing abroad, are expected to report for military service as part of the country’s efforts to address the escalating conflict with Russia. Umerov framed this call as an “invitation,” but hinted at potential sanctions for those who fail to comply.

President Zelensky disclosed on Tuesday that Ukraine urgently requires between 450,000 to 500,000 new soldiers. However, he acknowledged the sensitivity of the matter, emphasizing the gravity of the current situation. The call for expatriate Ukrainian men to join the military comes at a time when Ukraine’s recent counter-offensive appears to have faced obstacles.

Notably, Kyiv has encountered setbacks in the delivery of aid, with US Republicans blocking a $61 billion military package and Hungary halting an EU financial deal worth €50 billion. These challenges add to the complexities faced by Ukraine as it strives to strengthen its defense capabilities.

In November, an Austrian newspaper quoted EU agency Eurostat, revealing that approximately 650,000 Ukrainian men of military age had left the country for the EU alone since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Defence Minister Umerov, in an interview with Die Welt, Bild, and Politico, characterized the recruitment drive as an “honour” rather than a punishment.

The Ukrainian authorities are deliberating on the course of action if citizens abroad do not join voluntarily. As of now, there are no recruitment centers outside Ukraine, and the authorities lack the means to compel attendance. Minister Umerov stressed the importance of transparency in the recruitment process, ensuring that mobilized men are informed about training, equipment, service terms, and discharge schedules.

President Zelensky, in his recent news conference, indicated that there are currently 500,000 Ukrainian troops at the front. However, he acknowledged challenges with rotation and holidays, citing the obligation for conscripts and volunteers to serve until the end of the war, with only ten days of leave per year.

In contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported this week that 617,000 Russian troops are participating in the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. As tensions persist and the conflict evolves, Ukraine faces the formidable task of bolstering its military forces to ensure the nation’s security and sovereignty.

Kiki Garba

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