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Media: Parliament expecting new version of mobilization bill in early February

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 18, 2024 2:16 PM 2 min read
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on August 23, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Andrii Nesterenko/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian lawmakers expect the government to submit the new version of the draft law on mobilization around Feb. 6, several unnamed MPs from different parties told Ukrainska Pravda media outlet.

Lawmakers returned the first version of the bill on mobilization and military service for a revision earlier on Jan. 11 due to the controversy caused by proposals for further conscription and restricting the rights of draft evaders.

Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said on Jan. 11 that his ministry had prepared a new version of the bill and planned to submit it to the government for approval. The Defense Ministry's lawyers handed over their suggestions to the heads of all factions for review on Jan. 16, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

"We are, to put it mildly, angry because we do not see a particular improvement in the text. It is not clear what was actually rewritten there," said an influential MP from the Servant of the People faction.

"Well, there is no way we can gather votes for other wordings of the same thing that was in the first version. We need to really rewrite it."

After the government submitted the first variant of the bill on Dec. 25, Umerov, Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and Chief of the General Staff Serhii Shaptala came to parliament on Jan. 4 to start talks with the parliament's committee on the bill.

The new version takes into account all proposals agreed upon at the meetings of the committee, said Umerov.

According to Ukrainska Pravda's sources, the first version of the bill faced strong resistance not only from the opposition but also from most members of President Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People faction.

"At the faction meeting, lawmakers were arguing for an hour and a half and were outraged by various controversial proposals (of the bill)," Ukrainska Pravda wrote.

Several alternative draft laws on mobilization have been registered in the parliament, which means that when the government submits its new version of the bill, the parliament will first need to consider the bills registered earlier.

Discussions on mobilization have been ongoing since Dec. 19, when Zelensky said that Ukraine's military leadership had proposed to mobilize up to 500,000 additional conscripts.

Zaluzhnyi then denied that the military had submitted a formal request to mobilize 500,000 people but said that the military did have a plan for mobilization numbers for 2024.

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