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Ukraine has officially passed a military draft reform bill following more than two years of war since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The legislation, aimed at strengthening the military by clarifying draft requirements and removing severe penalties for draft evasion, received the approval of 283 out of 450 members in the Ukrainian parliament. This move comes as a response to the challenges faced by Ukraine’s armed forces, including a significant manpower shortage and ongoing heavy confrontations with better-equipped Russian troops in the east.

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General Yuriy Sodol, addressing the parliament, emphasized the dire situation, stating, “The enemy outnumbers us by seven to 10 times. We lack manpower.” His plea for legislative support was met with applause from lawmakers and more than a dozen military commanders present.

The bill is designed to update the military’s records by requiring Ukrainian men to provide current personal data within 60 days, a change from relying on outdated information. The revised bill notably excludes previously suggested harsh penalties for avoiding the draft, which had led to public discontent and numerous incidents of draft dodging throughout the war. It also omits a clause allowing the demobilization of soldiers who have served for 36 months, maintaining indefinite military service duration during wartime.


Lawmaker Oleksandr Fedienko believed that the bill’s passage would demonstrate to international allies Ukraine’s readiness to reclaim its territories and its ongoing need for military support.

Further discussions on enhancing military recruitment include proposals to lower the conscription age and allow convicts with suspended sentences to join the fight, reflecting Ukraine’s urgent need to bolster its forces. Deputy commander Maksym Zhorin of the 3rd Assault Brigade remarked on television, “Undoubtedly, it will bring a little more order and systematics in general to the issue of mobilization.” However, he cautioned that it would not miraculously resolve all challenges on the ground.

The bill now awaits President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s signature to become law.


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